The federal corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey ended in a mistrial on Thursday after jurors said they were unable to reach a verdict, leaving Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, free to return to Congress but injecting uncertainty as he faces re-election next year and his party faces a difficult battle to retake the Senate.
After interviewing jurors individually in his chambers, Judge William H. Walls emerged to tell the court that, after nine weeks of testimony, the jury was deadlocked and that, as a result, “there is no alternative but to declare a mistrial.”
One juror told reporters that 10 of the 12 jurors supported finding Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, not guilty, saying that prosecutors had not made the case that the favors and gifts exchanged between the senator and a wealthy eye doctor went beyond what good friends do for each other….
The indictment against Mr. Menendez and Dr. Melgen was handed down in 2015, a year before the Supreme Court decision significantly limited the official acts a politician could be convicted of in a bribery case.
The McDonnell decision loomed throughout the trial with Judge Walls at one point referring to it as “you know what,” and hinting that he may have granted a motion to dismiss the case based on the high court’s definition of bribery.