News / World

Supreme Court says OK to second bribery trial in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON — A unanimous Supreme Court says a former Puerto Rico senator can face a second trial on bribery charges.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Tuesday delivered the first opinion of the court's new term by ruling against former Puerto Rico Sen. Hector Martinez-Maldonado and a prominent businessman.

They were convicted on one charge and acquitted on another related to claims that Martinez-Maldonado traded political favours for a trip to Las Vegas. A federal appeals court threw out the conviction because the jury's instructions were flawed.

The Justice Department wants to try them again, but the two men argued that they can't be tried twice for the same crime.

Ginsburg says the Constitution does not bar a second trial "when a jury has returned inconsistent verdicts of conviction and acquittal."