Another day ends with no verdict in Menendez bribery trial
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NEWARK, N.J. — Jurors completed a seventh day of deliberations in the bribery trial of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend Wednesday without a verdict, as
Deliberations began on Nov. 6, but the jury restarted Monday after a juror was excused for a previously scheduled vacation and was replaced by an alternate.
Outside the courthouse, Menendez thanked jurors he said were "asserting my innocence" in the jury room.
"I appreciate the jurors standing up for me in terms of advocating for my innocence," the senator from New Jersey said. "I hope they come to a verdict across the board of innocence, and I look forward to tomorrow being that day."
The jury deliberated all day Tuesday and Wednesday without sending any notes to U.S. District Judge William Walls, a possible indication that they understand the legal principles of the case but are entrenched in their positions.
On Monday, they had sent Walls a note saying they were deadlocked, but he told them to keep going and to "take as much time as you need."
Walls could instruct the jury that they can reach a verdict on some counts but not others. He also could give them what is referred to as an Allen charge, named after the defendant in a more than century-old case. It is given to a deadlocked jury and urges jurors who are voting against the majority to reconsider their positions to avoid a mistrial.
On Tuesday, Walls said he has not "come close" to giving an Allen charge in his decades on the bench.
The trial is in its 11th week. Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen are charged with running a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez lobbied government officials on Melgen's behalf in exchange for luxury vacations and flights on Melgen's private plane.
The men each face about a dozen counts including bribery, fraud and conspiracy. Menendez also is charged with making false statements for failing to report Melgen's gifts on Senate disclosure forms.
Both men deny the allegations.
A mistrial would aid Menendez by not subjecting him to pressure to step down in the event of a conviction. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.