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Government seeks to head off Menendez Supreme Court appeal

NEWARK, N.J. — Government attorneys are pushing back against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez's attempts to have his corruption indictment thrown out.

They filed a response this week to the Democratic senator's filing seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear his appeal.

Menendez is accused of using his influence in exchange for gifts and political donations from a wealthy Florida eye doctor. Menendez has argued his actions were covered under the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause that protects lawmakers when they are performing legislative duties.

In its brief this week, the government wrote that the clause is limited to acts that are "integral to the legislative process" and not to attempts to influence government agencies.

If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, a trial could take place this fall.

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