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The Latest: No ruling on dismissal of Sen. Menendez charges

October 11, 2017
Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend (all times local):

5 p.m.

A judge overseeing the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez will wait to rule on whether to dismiss the charges against the New Jersey Democrat and a wealthy friend.

After the prosecution rested its case Wednesday, defense attorneys renewed their pretrial arguments the charges don't meet a narrower definition of bribery under a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The attorneys argue Menendez's meetings and other interactions with executive branch officials weren't official acts meant to benefit Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen (MEHL'-gehn), his longtime friend.

Defense attorneys also say the prosecution failed to show a direct connection between Menendez's actions and alleged bribes including free flights on Melgen's private jet.

U.S. District Judge William Walls appeared to favor that position and asked prosecutors to explain how the two are linked.

The parties will reconvene on Monday.

___

12:10 p.m.

The government has rested its bribery case against U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and now the judge will make a crucial ruling on the New Jersey Democrat's motion to dismiss the charges.

Menendez argued in court filings before the trial that the charges should be dropped because they didn't meet a narrower definition of bribery under a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Republican former Virginia Gov. Bob O'Donnell.

On Wednesday, jurors heard again from an FBI agent testifying for the prosecution about emails among Menendez, his staffers and his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen (MELH'-gehn).

Menendez is charged with accepting free flights and other gifts from Melgen in return for his political influence.

The two men say the gifts were a result of their longtime friendship.

___

7:30 a.m.

When the government rests its bribery case against U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, the judge will make a crucial ruling on the New Jersey Democrat's motion to dismiss the charges.

Menendez is charged with accepting free flights on a private jet and other gifts from a wealthy Florida doctor in exchange for pressuring government officials to take actions favorable to the friend's business interests.

Menendez argued before the trial that the charges should be dropped because they didn't meet a narrower definition of bribery under a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that reversed the conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The judge said he would wait until after the government presented its case before ruling. The trial is in its sixth week, which is roughly how long prosecutors initially said their case would take.

 
 
 

 

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