Prosecutors rest their case in Menendez corruption trial

Prosecutors rest their case in Menendez corruption trial
© Greg Nash

Prosecutors in the federal corruption case against Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE (D-N.J.) and his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen, rested their case on Wednesday, capping off 18 days of testimony from 35 witnesses. 

Menendez pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted campaign donations, lavish gifts and vacations from Melgen, a Florida-based eye doctor, in return for the senator using his influence to benefit Melgen both personally and financially. 

Melgen pleaded not guilty as well. 

Prosecutors claimed during the trial that the senator had "sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford."

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“He went to bat when Dr. Melgen asked, and Dr. Melgen asked frequently,” Justice Department attorney Peter Koski said in court last month, according to The Associated Press. “There’s no friendship exception to bribery. There’s no friendship exception to breaking the law.”

Prosecutors alleged Menendez and Melgen's relationship began around the time Menendez first went to work in the Senate, in 2006, and continued until 2013. 

"It's a story of a lifetime of service done honorably, hard work and sacrifice and a commitment to the people of New Jersey and a long time friendship with Dr. Melgen," Menendez told reporters on Wednesday, according to CNN. 

Menendez's defense team is planning to ask the judge to dismiss the case, according to Bloomberg

The trial has put the future of Menendez's political career at risk.

Menendez, who faces significant jail time if found guilty, has not said if would resign in that event. He is next up for reelection in 2018.

Eighty-four percent of likely New Jersey voters said they wanted Menendez to resign if found guilty, according to a Suffolk University poll conducted by USA Today last month. 

Republicans have pushed for Democrats to call for Menendez's resignation if he is found guilty.