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- A mistrial was declared in the corruption case involving Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.
- The Justice Department would have to go through another trial if it seeks to prove the charges against him.
- The mistrial comes more than three years after Menendez was initially charged.
A New Jersey judge declared a mistrial in the high-profile corruption case involving Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez after jurors remained deadlocked after four days of deliberations.
Menendez, three years after being charged with corruption, is for the time being off the hook, unless the Justice Department decides to try him and his associate again.
The trial spanned more than two months and involved dozens of witnesses who spoke on Menendez and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen. The jury sent a note to the court just before noon Thursday that they “slowly and thoroughly” reviewed the evidence “in great detail” but could not come to a consensus.
“I think at this point we have to accept what they said and declare this a mistrial,” Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell said.
The judge, William Walls, agreed to do so.
“There is no alternative but to declare a mistrial,” he said.
In a statement following the announcement, Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the Supreme Court’s ruling in the corruption case involving former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has made it “significantly harder to convict an elected official of corruption.”
“There is a real fear that unless corruption laws are strengthened to fill the significant holes that the Supreme Court has created, the days of seeing corrupt politicians behind bars may be past,” he said. “Congress needs to take action to ensure elected officials are held accountable when they serve themselves rather than the people.”