Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Menendez Trial Ends With Hung Jury

Menendez Trial Ends With Hung Jury

He said he would like to interview the jury foreman, while Menendez's lawyer asked the judge for a mistrial.

The most serious of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez becomes emotional as he speaks to reporters in front of the courthouse in Newark, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.

The trial - which stretched on for 11 weeks - included 57 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits, but the central factual allegations were never in dispute.

A mistrial would aid Menendez by not subjecting him to pressure to step down in the event of a conviction.

In arguments with attorneys after the jury left for the day Tuesday, Walls said he has not "come close" to giving an Allen charge in his years on the bench.

"We have each tried to look at this case from different viewpoints, but still feel strongly in our positions, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions", jurors told U.S. District Judge William Walls when he polled them in his chambers.

The note said jurors had reviewed the evidence slowly, thoroughly and in great detail and still couldn't reach a unanimous verdict, Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell said.

The jury first told him on Monday they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on any of the 18 counts in the indictment against Menendez and a wealthy friend. Judge Walls rejected that suggestion, saying to do so would be "going down the slippery slope of coercion".

Gov't asked judge to make partial verdict charge to jury, but judge said it wasn't warranted by note. Menendez and Melgen are charged with running a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez lobbied government officials on Melgen's behalf in exchange for luxury vacations and flights on Melgen's private plane.

Though the charges have not removed Menendez from office or pushed him to resign, it will serve as political baggage for the Democratic Party desperately trying to rebrand themselves ahead of the 2018 Midterm elections, when Menendez is up for re-election.

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The hung jury is slightly better news for Senate Democrats - at least in the short term - who no longer have to fear losing one of their members in the midst of a pitched battle in Congress over legislation backed by President Trump.

The panel reconvened Thursday morning in Newark, New Jersey.

Key dates in the bribery investigation and trial of U.S.

Dr. Melgen was convicted earlier this year for Medicare fraud, but had his sentencing delayed until after Menendez's trial. The senator was also charged with making false statements in failing to report gifts from Melgen on his financial disclosure form.

Well, now, Mr. Menendez is a free man, with his bribery case ending in a mistrial.

During the 10-week trial, prosecutors accused Menendez of pressuring Medicare officials to change the agency's billing practices after it concluded that Melgen overbilled it by millions of dollars.

The senator also added a warning to political rivals.

According to prosecutors, Melgen essentially put Menendez on the payroll and made the politician his "personal senator", available as needed.

The deliberations were re-started midway after one juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, had to be replaced by an alternate because of a vacation she had informed the judge about in advance.

More: The trial of Sen.

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