“Menendez Trial May Hinge on a New Definition of Bribery”

NYT:

The defense is scheduled to begin its case on Monday, but first Judge William H. Walls is expected to rule on a motion to dismiss it, a motion that he hinted he was considering during arguments in court about the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the corruption conviction of Bob McDonnell, a former governor of Virginia.

In fact, the McDonnell decision has loomed over prosecutors throughout the Menendez trial, and Judge Walls suggested that he was leaning toward interpreting the ruling as invalidating a theory of bribery, known as “stream of benefits,” that is central to the government’s case.

The Supreme Court’s decision also set a high bar for what constitutes the kind of act an elected official must perform to have an exchange qualify as bribery — setting up meetings for constituents or making a phone call on behalf of a constituent no longer qualifies.

But in a narrative spun out in tedious, often repetitive, fashion over six weeks of testimony in the federal courthouse in Newark, prosecutors laid out the many ways that Mr. Menendez had helped Dr. Melgen whenever he ran into trouble.

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