Feds drop corruption case against Sen. Robert Menendez D

The Justice Department Wednesday filed to dismiss its remaining charges against Sen. Bob Menendez likely bringing the legal case against the New Jersey Democrat to a close

Justice Department won't retry Sen. Bob Menendez on corruption charges

Lawyers for Mr. Menendez and his co-defendant, the ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, said in a legal filing that they had no objection to the government's request to drop the case.

In a big personal victory for Senator Robert Menendez - and, indirectly, for Democratic hopes of a successful 2018 midterm election - the Department of Justice has formally filed a court motion to drop its corruption case against the embattled New Jersey lawmaker.

"Menendez never wavered in his innocence and his commitment to the people of New Jersey", said a statement by attorney Abbe Lowell.

Justice officials also Wednesday cited limitations placed by the judge on the evidence that would be admissible at a retrial. The first trial, which lasted 11 weeks, ended in a hung jury in November. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and a Florida eye doctor, a week after a New Jersey federal judge acquitted them of charges that they exchanged political donations as bribes. Eleven charges remained before Wednesday's decision, including bribery, fraud and conspiracy.

"We take no pleasure in seeing justice done at this stage in a case that should never have been brought", Ogrosky said. Mr. Menendez had been charged with using the power of his office to conduct favors for Dr. Melgen in exchange for lavish gifts, trips on a private plane and political contributions.

Now, Menendez will have some time to fix his standing among voters, while Republicans decide whether it's worth the trouble to find a viable challenger and launch an expensive effort to oust him in a bad year and a bad state for them.

Jurors later told reporters as many as 10 members of the panel were in favour of acquittal on all counts, leading many to speculate the government wouldn't pursue a retrial.

Melgen, who was convicted separately in a Medicare fraud case in Florida, refused to cooperate with the government, hobbling the bribery case from the start.

The senator was still accused of taking bribes in the form of private jet travel and a Paris vacation in exchange for pushing the doctor's business interests at the highest levels of the USA government.

The loss of the high-profile case is another blow to the department's public integrity section and reflects the effect of a 2016 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of former Virginia Gov. At trial, his lawyers argued that the gifts and Menendez's advocacy were explained by his longtime friendship with Melgen.

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