DOJ files intent to retry corruption case against NJ Sen. Bob Menendez

The first trial against Menendez ended with a hung jury last November.

ByABC News
January 19, 2018, 4:26 PM

— -- The Department of Justice today filed a motion of intent to retry the corruption case against U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., after the first trial ended in a hung jury last November.

According to documents filed with the district court in New Jersey, the Justice Department is seeking the “earliest possible date” for a retrial against Menendez, saying in the filing that "an early retrial date is in the best interests of the public."

Reacting to the news, Menendez’s office released a defiant statement, saying they fully expect the senator to be vindicated in any future trial.

“We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has decided to double down on an unjust prosecution,” a statement released Friday by Menendez’s office read, “Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall. Senator Menendez fully intends to be vindicated -- again.”

A federal judge declared a mistrial in the first case against Menendez, after the jury deciding the case indicated it was deadlocked on all counts against the New Jersey Democrat.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, was just sworn into office this week, and would be the man who would appoint a replacement for Menendez if he had to step down from him senate seat.

Murphy released a statement Friday, but would not elaborate on what he would do if Menendez stepped down.

"I support Senator Menendez, and I believe he deserves the benefit that is the basis of our entire justice system: we are all innocent until proven otherwise. I won’t speculate past that," read a statement released by Murphy's office Friday.

The charges against Menendez centered on his relationship with Florida eye doctor Solomon Melhen, a close ally of the senator.

Menendez was charged in alleged bribery scheme in which he allegedly accepted gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his senate office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interests.

Menendez pleaded not guilty to the charges, and following the announcement of a mistrial in November, said he will not forget those that doubted he would be vindicated.

“To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won’t forget you,” Menendez told reporters outside a federal courthouse in New Jersey after the mistrial was declared.

Menendez is up for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2018, and according to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission, has raised over $2.5 million as of October 2017 to support his bid.