Bob Menendez Trial Begins With Jury Selection

Bob Menendez Trial Begins With Jury Selection

( – Federal prosecutors indicted Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife, Nadine Menendez, on three charges last September. That blew up into several superseding indictments in October, January, and March. Eventually, he was facing 16 charges and his wife 15. Last month, a judge agreed to split the cases and grant Mrs. Menendez a delay due to a “serious medical condition.” However, Senator Menendez’s trial recently began.

On Monday, May 13, jury selection began in the senator’s trial. Though legal teams didn’t select anybody to serve that day, Judge Sidney Stein privately interviewed some prospects. Ultimately, the court dismissed more than three dozen and asked more than 100 to return on Tuesday. The court anticipates that prospective jurors will likely serve for two months. Once it seats a jury, legal experts expect the trial will move quickly, with the prosecution and defense presenting opening statements.

The senator is facing a host of charges stemming from an alleged bribery scheme involving two foreign countries and elaborate gifts, including gold and a $60,000 Mercedes gifted to Mrs. Menendez. The Justice Department charged Mr. Menendez with bribery, corruption, acting as a foreign agent, and extortion, among other allegations.

Court documents indicate that some of the defense’s strategies will include the fact that his stockpiles of cash came from “two significant traumatic events” he experienced and possibly incriminating his wife.

If he takes the stand, legal experts expect Menendez to tell the courtroom how his wife, whom he married four years previously, deliberately misled him by withholding information. According to his attorneys, that “led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place.”

This is the second corruption trial Menendez has faced in his career. It marks the first time prosecutors have tried a US senator twice. The prior case ended in a mistrial in 2017, and prosecutors announced their decision to decline to retry him in January 2018. The court has scheduled Nadine Menendez to go to trial, with a date set for July.

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