U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez becomes emotional as he speaks to the press after the judge declared a mistrial in the corruption case against him. That could give US prosecutors pause and could also shift public opinion in favor of Menendez, said Brigid Callahan Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair University.
With the trial in it's 11th week, jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the 18 counts in the indictment against Menendez and a wealthy friend. Neither took the witness stand during the 11-week trial, which included more than 55 witnesses, from Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to plane pilots.
It wasn't immediately clear if prosecutors meant to retry Menendez, who faces more than a dozen charges in connection with an alleged bribery scheme with a wealthy friend.
Prosecutors did not immediately say if they intend to refile charges against Menendez.
The federal bribery trial of Democratic Sen.
It is possible for Menendez to face trial again, but for now, it seems he is off the hook.
The Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. prosecuted the case, not the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, to avoid conflicts of interest.
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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.
Walls could have instructed the jury it is allowed to reach a verdict on some counts but not others, though that type of instruction typically would have followed a note from the jury inquiring about that option. Prosecutors said Menendez accepted gifts - including more than $600,000 in political donations, a luxurious hotel suite in Paris, and free rides on a private jet - from Dr. Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist, in return for political favors.
The judge and lawyers in Sen.
While mistrials are generally considered wins for defense lawyers and losses for prosecutors, the Justice Department will likely feel significant internal pressure to put the senator on trial again, because recent Supreme Court decisions have raised questions about how much legal authority prosecutors still have in pursuing corruption charges involving payments not explicitly and directly linked to official acts.
Since deliberations began Monday of last week, the daily comings and goings at the courthouse have settled into a familiar pattern.
The judge had urged the panel to keep deliberating when they were deadlocked on Monday.