Posted on

Why an N.J. trial could make American politics even crazier

menednez_ridgewood trainstation_theridgewoodblog

file photo by Boyd Loving

By James Pindell Globe Staff  September 08, 2017

Amid the news coverage of hurricanes and all things President Trump, one could be forgiven for barely noticing that a corruption trial involving a sitting US senator began in New Jersey this week. In a few months, however, it might be the biggest thing we’re talking about — at least when it comes to politics.

That’s because the implications of the bribery case facing Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez could extend far beyond New Jersey. Why, you ask? Because it could ultimately affect the balance of power in Washington. Even stranger, it could lay the groundwork for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — the least popular governor in America — to appoint himself to the Senate.


Of course, many things could affect the balance of power in the Senate. The difference is this one could happen in a matter of weeks.

Posted on

When Is A Scandal Not A Scandal? When There’s A Democrat Involved


Corruption: A sitting U.S. Senator is currently on trial for bribery, and if he’s found guilty it could have major political ramifications. Haven’t heard about this case? That’s because the Senator in question is a Democrat.

A CNN story this week about the opening of the trial against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez noted that “Democrats are eager to avoid the subject of Menendez’s bribery trial.”

That headline would have been just as accurate if it said “Reporters” instead of “Democrats.”

Menendez in on trial for allegedly having sold his office in exchange for luxury vacations, private flights, and piles of campaign cash. In his opening remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Koski said “this case is about a corrupt politician who sold his Senate office for a life of luxury he couldn’t afford and a greedy doctor who put that senator on his payroll. … The defendants didn’t just trade money for power, they also tried to cover it up.”

It’s the first time in 36 years that a sitting U.S. senator has been on trial for bribery, which you’d think would make it front page news.