“N.J.’s Menendez says actions that helped friend were legitimate”


Lawyers for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez argued in U.S. District Court in Newark that his actions on behalf of Dr. Salomon Melgen concerned legitimate policy questions and were not favors for a friend and campaign donor.

In filings submitted late Thursday, Menendez’s lawyers said his actions were protected by the Constitution’s “speech and debate clause,” which prevent lawmakers from being prosecuted for their legislative activities.

“The indictment violates the Speech or Debate Clause by charging that Senator Menendez took various legislative acts and alleging that Senator Menendez received various gifts, and leaving the prosecution to ask the jury to infer that there must have been some sort of corrupt agreement linking the gifts with those acts,” the senator’s lawyers wrote.

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