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NJ's Menendez Set for Rare Senate Corruption Trial

07 September 2017

Second, in the event that Menendez is convicted - a potential outcome that was bolstered by last week's Department of Justice brief that Menendez has concealed up to a dozen trips paid for by Melgen which he failed to report and the possibility that Melgen could provide evidence against him in return for a lighter sentence - Senate Democrats will be forced to make a hard choice: Vote to expel Menendez from the Senate and lose a Democrat vote, or be subjected to wilting public criticism over hypocricy. He won a full term later that year and was re-elected in 2012. Menendez said before entering the courthouse Wednesday: "Not once have I dishonored my public office".

"Senator Menendez is issuing a spirited defense", Schumer said.

The expected eight-week trial could also force Menendez to choose between appearing in court and being in Washington for votes.

Christie has said that Menendez is entitled to the presumption of innocence. A Democrat has a large polling and financial advantage in November's election to replace Christie.

In his opinion, Walls had called the request to delay the trial for Senate votes "nigh frivolous". Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska was the last sitting US senator to go on trial. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, on corruption charges - a ruling which was later overturned after a Justice Department investigation - the ad contends that "Democrats and Republicans used to agree that a convicted felon should resign immediately". The New Jersey Democrat was in court for the start of his corruption trial.

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Earlier Wednesday, a prosecutor characterized Menendez as accepting gifts and campaign donations from Melgen in exchange for helping lobby for Melgen's business interests. Melgen had been slapped with a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that he had overcharged Medicare for $8.9 million for a retina-related treatment.

During opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutors told the jury that as part of the bribery scheme, Menendez sent the doctor an email asking him to provide a $1,500-dollar-a-night Paris hotel room with a limestone bath and a view of the courtyard. The judge said he was not privy to special, or "preferential treatment" simply because he was a US senator. When attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that the motion was filed according to the judge's order from December, Walls replied, "Fine".

Menendez has vehemently denied the allegations.

But Menendez's defense attorney Abbe Lowell countered that gift-giving was common in the 25-year friendship between the two men, which he described as evolving from a political connection to a close personal bond. His successor would be appointed by the governor of New Jersey, now Republican Chris Christie.

NJ's Menendez Set for Rare Senate Corruption Trial