Judge rules Menendez corruption trial to stay in New Jersey

AP News
Posted: Jun 16, 2015 3:10 PM
Judge rules Menendez corruption trial to stay in New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial will stay in New Jersey and not be moved to Washington, a federal judge in Newark ruled Tuesday.

Menendez's attorneys wanted the case moved to Washington because, they said, the vast majority of the alleged illegal actions by Menendez occurred there. They also argued a trial in New Jersey would disrupt Menendez's Senate duties.

Government prosecutors wanted the case to stay in New Jersey because Menendez is a resident and received the gifts that led to the alleged illegal activity there.

Menendez, a congressman for more than 20 years and a member of the Senate since 2006, is charged in a 22-count indictment with accepting gifts and donations totaling about $1 million from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors. The gifts included flights aboard a luxury jet and a Paris vacation. Menendez has said he accepted gifts from Melgen because the two have been close friends for years.

Melgen also is charged in the indictment, and is charged in a separate indictment in Florida accusing him of multiple counts of Medicare fraud.

Abbe Lowell, representing Menendez, wrote in his filing that the case should be moved because most of the alleged criminal acts occurred in Washington, most potential witnesses are there and Menendez's Senate duties would be adversely affected if he is forced to travel back and forth to New Jersey.

The Justice Department has argued that Menendez accepted things of value from Melgen in New Jersey that led to the alleged illegal acts, and that the inconvenience to Menendez and any witnesses in the case will be negligible.