Senator Bob Menendez’s hopes of dismissal just got crushed by the judge in the case:
NEWS: All 18 counts against Menendez going to the jury. Despite casting doubt on charges last week, judge today let them go forward— Matt Friedman (@MattFriedmanNJ) October 16, 2017
POLITICO – After raising U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s hopes last week, a federal judge crushed them on Monday morning.
U.S. District Court Judge William Walls refused to toss any of the 18 charges in the corruption case against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, despite last week casting doubt on a legal theory that’s at the heart of the prosecution’s case.
Walls last week cast doubt on the “stream of benefits” theory — in which a public official’s actions can be defined as bribery if those actions can be linked to gifts received over a lengthy period of time. Much of the prosecution’s case against Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen relies on the theory. Melgen, prosecutors argue, gave Menendez private jet flights, hotel stays and about $750,000 in political contributions in exchange for official favors “as opportunities arose.”
The defense had argued that the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision overturning the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell invalidated the theory, even though the Supreme Court didn’t explicitly say so.
Walls didn’t agree.
“I see nothing in McDonnell that attacks the stream of benefits theory,” Walls said.
The judge had been more sympathetic to the defense’s argument when the trial broke last Wednesday, saying “I frankly don’t think that McDonnell will allow that.”
But after reading dozens of pages of briefings from the prosecution and defense and hearing more oral arguments, Walls was firm in siding with the prosecution. He said higher courts in recent cases have continued to rely on the stream of benefits theory.
“This court concludes that a rational jury could determine that the defendants entered into a quid pro quo agreement,” Walls said.
Time to get out the popcorn!