U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez fights tears as he speaks to reporters outside Martin Luther King Jr.
After a deadlocked jury failed to agree on a verdict in Senator Bob Menendez's bribery trial, he held back tears during an emotional press conference while he addressed the outcome of the case. The judge will privately interview the jury foreman then make a decision.
In their note to the court the 12 jurors - seven men and five women - wrote: "We can not reach a unanimous decision.Nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions".
Menendez was accused of selling his political influence to Dr. Salomon Melgen for vacations in the Caribbean and Paris, flights on Melgen's jet and hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to campaign organizations that supported the senator directly or indirectly.
This is a developing story. The trial has ended in a mistrial after the jury said it was deadlocked on all charges between Menendez and a wealthy donor and Florida eye doctor he was involved with.
The federal bribery trial of Democratic Sen.
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The defense argued that the gifts were not bribes but tokens of friendship between two men who have known each other for more than 20 years and were "like brothers".
Alas, trouble began last week when a juror, who was told she could be excused due to a pre-planned vacation, said this case was going to end in a hung jury.
"They are telling us in the clearest terms possible that they have done their job as diligent jurors". Bob Menendez after the jury deadlocked twice - unable to reach a decision on any of the various counts - in deliberations this week.
The trial lasted roughly 10 weeks, as Menendez's attorneys tried to have the case dismissed on several grounds after spending over a year exhausting the appeal process to avoid a trial. The Justice Department said in a statement that prosecutors would "carefully consider" their next steps.
If they don't reach a verdict Thursday, deliberations might resume Monday. Senate Democrats nervous about the remote possibility of a Republican being named a temporary replacement for Menendez should he have been forced out of office before Democrat Phil Murphy becomes governor on January 16, 2018, are breathing easier. In theory, once a senator faces federal bribery charges, it's tempting to think his or her career probably won't recover, but I'd caution against assuming that in this case. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.
Menendez's defense lawyer on Thursday asked Judge William Walls to declare a mistrial. On the other hand, in deep-blue New Jersey, is it really unfair to ask if Menendez would have been convicted if Clinton were president or Christie was a Democratic governor?