For Bob Menendez, it's all about concepts
New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has asked a federal judge to dismiss his allegation of corruption, citing a ruling by the US Supreme Court that narrowed the definition of conduct that could lead to such prosecutions.
It had happened before. In June 2016, the Supreme Court decided to overturn the former governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell's conviction of corruption, considering that "political activities such as organizing meetings or calling officials, did not qualify as 'official acts' defined as bribery statutes," Reuters reported.
Menendez was charged in 2015 with eight counts of bribery, the result of a two-year investigation by the Justice Department that determined the exchange of political favors and luxury gifts between Senator and Dr. Salomon E. Melgen of Florida.
Melgen was convicted in April of manipulating the health system in his state to steal up to $ 105 million, and his relationship with Senator Menendez was based on campaign donations. According to the New York Times, Menendez was also charged with conspiracy and false testimony.
Both the senator and his lawyers have held firm the "not guilty" statement, increasing efforts to avoid a public criminal trial.
Faced with the Supreme Court's refusal on Monday to accept a bid to remove corruption charges, the Senator’s legal team has decided to introduce the allegation in the McDonnell case.
Whatever the case, Menendez's trial is still scheduled for September 6.
The Justice Department's battle is based on the argument that "no other New Jersey senator" had received free private flights, resort accommodations in Paris, travels to Dominican Republic or more than $ 750,000 in campaign contributions.
According to Menendez's defense, those are just "gifts from a good friend".
But Menendez is not alone. During the month of March, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams was found guilty on the same charges, including trips to a resort in the Dominican Republic, proving a new outlook for US lawmakers, where the immunity enjoyed earlier would set the tone for those who claim to represent the American citizenship.