In a sudden reversal, the Department of Justice has decided it won’t retry Senator Bob Menendez on corruption charges.
His first trial ended in a hung jury on 18 counts relating to the senator’s relationship with a Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen. It was alleged that Menendez did political favors for Melgen in exchange for expensive trips and gifts as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Menendez failed to list those gifts on his official financial disclosure form.
Two weeks ago, DoJ announced they would retry Menendez and Melgen. But a federal judge acquitted Menendez of 7 of the 18 charges, leading to the decision by the Justice Department to drop the remaining counts of the indictment.
Menendez was favored in his re-election campaign, even with the corruption trial. He now appears to be free and clear to get elected to a third term in deep blue New Jersey.
“From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail,” Menendez said in a statement. “I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion. I thank God for hearing my prayers and for giving me strength during this difficult time.
“I have devoted my life to serving the people of New Jersey, and am forever thankful for all who have stood by me,” Menendez said. “No matter the challenges ahead, I will never stop fighting for New Jersey and the values we share.”
Yada, yada. Menedez is a crook and tried to cover it up. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But once again, the prosecution in a political corruption case was apparently more interested in making a name for themselves rather than putting sleazy politicians in jail. They overreached and confused the jury, rather than concentrating on two or three major charges.
So Menendez gets away with his corruption, proving once again that rules are for the little people.