BREAKING NEWS Multi-state double murder investigation lands 3 in Butte County Jail Full Story
SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Justice Dept. won't retry Sen. Bob Menendez

The Justice Department Wednesday filed to dismiss its remaining charges against Sen. Bob Menendez, bringing the legal...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 5:25 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 5:25 PM

The Justice Department Wednesday filed to dismiss its remaining charges against Sen. Bob Menendez, bringing the legal case that has hovered over the New Jersey Democrat for years to a close.

An 11-week trial last fall resulted in a hung jury. Prosecutors had accused the senator of accepting bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, in return for political favors. The charges against Melgen were also dropped.

Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges.

"Given the impact of the Court's Jan. 24 order on the charges and the evidence admissible in a retrial, the United States has determined that it will not retry the defendants on the remaining charges," DOJ spokeswoman Nicole Navas Oxman said.

"From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail," Menendez said in a statement Wednesday. "I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion. I thank God for hearing my prayers and for giving me strength during this difficult time. I have devoted my life to serving the people of New Jersey, and am forever thankful for all who have stood by me."

Melgen attorney Kirk Ogrosky called the case an "ill-fated adventure" by the FBI and Justice Department "that destroyed my client's life."

"Dr. Melgen is now and has always been innocent of the charges brought in New Jersey. He did not ever give anything to his best friend of over 20 years with an expectation that he would get something in return," Ogrosky said. "We take no pleasure in seeing justice done at this stage in a case that should never have been brought. All that said, justice today is better than continuing on to inevitable acquittals on the remaining counts. We hope that this type of meritless case is never again brought by DOJ."

After last fall's trial ended, one juror told reporters the jury was split 10-2 on all counts in favor of acquittal.

"In light of the results of a three month trial, all the jury said and the granting of our motion for acquittal on significant counts, we are pleased and grateful that the Justice Department made the right decision to end this case," Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell said Wednesday.

In November when the trial ended in a mistrial, Menendez criticized the Justice Department.

"The way this case started was wrong, the way it was investigated was wrong, the way it was prosecuted was wrong and the way it was tried was wrong as well," Menendez told reporters outside the courthouse. "Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand or, even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up and be a US senator and be honest."

RELATED: Bob Menendez charges, explained

Menendez faced charges of conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud related to allegedly abusing the power of his office that could have carried decades in prison. Prosecutors said Menendez pressured high-level officials in the Obama administration and other career diplomats to help Melgen resolve his business disputes in exchange for political contributions, a luxurious hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris and free rides on Melgen's private jet that Menendez failed to report on his Senate disclosure form.

Defense lawyers argued that Menendez and Melgen were longtime friends with no corrupt intent to commit a federal crime.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 893364

Reported Deaths: 17256
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2940656956
Riverside653861279
San Bernardino615501070
Orange578481434
San Diego53498866
Kern33630415
Fresno30328430
Sacramento24957480
Santa Clara23679385
Alameda23001456
San Joaquin21473488
Contra Costa18342240
Stanislaus17455395
Tulare17365282
Ventura14050160
Imperial12668336
San Francisco12000138
Monterey1122586
San Mateo10961157
Santa Barbara9688119
Merced9415154
Sonoma9099134
Kings818683
Solano724974
Marin7038128
Madera494574
San Luis Obispo409232
Placer405257
Yolo311958
Butte304151
Santa Cruz274425
Napa191815
Shasta183930
Sutter183012
San Benito141915
El Dorado13064
Yuba128810
Mendocino111821
Tehama8248
Lassen7641
Lake67815
Glenn6493
Nevada6018
Humboldt5619
Colusa5496
Calaveras33917
Amador31316
Tuolumne2584
Inyo22015
Siskiyou1870
Mono1762
Del Norte1751
Mariposa782
Plumas630
Modoc280
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 77°
Oroville
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 78°
Paradise
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 77°
Chester
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 57°
Red Bluff
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 80°
Willows
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 77°
Winds will not be as strong today, but the Red Flag Warning for high fire danger will continue through 5pm. Pleasant conditions are ahead for your Saturday, but then a more substantial wind event will bring extreme fire danger back into our forecast from Sunday through Monday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events