file photo by Boyd Loving
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Newark NJ, the Jurors in the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen could hear new instructions from the judge Wednesday as they resume deliberations.
The jury finished Tuesday without reaching a unanimous verdict on any of the 18 counts against the New Jersey Democrat .Deliberations began last week, but the jury was forced to be restarted on Monday after a juror was excused for a previously scheduled vacation and was replaced by an alternate.
The Jurors have since remained deadlocked, but were told to keep going and to “take as much time as you need.” by U.S. District Judge William Walls .
The New Jersey Senator is being charge with accepting an abundance of campaign donations, gifts and vacations from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist. In return, he used his position to lobby on behalf of Melgen’s business interests, according to prosecutors.
Melgen allegedly directed more than $750,000 in campaign contributions to entities that supported Menendez, according to the indictment, which prosecutors said were inducements to get Menendez to use his influence on Melgen’s behalf. Prosecutors have also accused Menendez of trying to hide the gifts.
Melgen paid for Menendez and his girlfriend to stay for three nights at a Parisian hotel where rooms typically cost about $1,500 per night and allowed the senator the use of his private jet, according to prosecutors.
Federal prosecutors said that Menendez “sold his office for a lifestyle that he couldn’t afford.”
The indictment also alleged that Menendez pressured State Department officials to give visas to three young women described as Melgen’s girlfriends.
Menendez has vehemently denied the accusations against him and claimed that he and Melgen have been friends since before the former became a senator, and the trips were nothing more than friends traveling together