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Published: Fri, November 17, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Judge Declares a Mistrial in Senator Menendez's Bribery Trial

Judge Declares a Mistrial in Senator Menendez's Bribery Trial

The presiding judge declared the mistrial Thursday after interviewing all 12 jurors involved in the case.

The jury had come back twice already, deadlocked on all charges, before U.S. District Judge William Walls threw in the towel. Both men denied the allegations. Bob Menendez on Thursday after jurors informed him they were intractably deadlocked. Fraud carries the most serious maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The trial was in its 11th week. Menendez is seen walking to his vehicle with his son, Robert Jr., as he departs the federal court on Wednesday in Newark, New Jersey.

"We can not reach a unanimous decision", the jury told Walls in a Thursday-morning note, according to Menendez's attorney Abbe Lowell.

"I find you are unable to reach a verdict and that further deliberations would be futile and that there is no alternative but to declare a mistrial", Judge Walls said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The hung jury is a major setback for federal prosecutors in what was their first high-profile corruption trial since a U.S. Supreme Court decision previous year limited their ability to bring such cases.

Gov't asked judge to make partial verdict charge to jury, but judge said it wasn't warranted by note.

Prosecutors say Menendez accepted bribes from his co-defendant, a wealthy eye-doctor and deep-pocketed benefactor who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year for over billing the USA government -and taxpayers- up to $105 million.

Menendez was facing potential punishment for 18 counts of corruption, some including bribery, but he is still awaiting conviction for Medicare fraud. Although he avoided a felony conviction that could have spelled the end of his political career, he now faces the prospect of campaigning through much of 2018 dogged by numerous same charges the government first brought in April 2015.

The jury at Democrat Sen. Had Menendez been convicted, Republicans would likely have pushed for either resignation or expulsion, giving Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a chance to replace him and extend the Republicans' current 52-48 edge. For now, Mr. Menendez has clinched a legal win.

A mistrial is a major victory for a senator who had to fight 18 counts of alleged corruption, and a setback for the Justice Department, whose efforts to combat public corruption have been curtailed by a recent Supreme Court decision.

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