Menendez files motion for mistrial in corruption case: report

Menendez files motion for mistrial in corruption case: report
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-N.J.) lawyers filed a motion Sunday to declare a mistrial in his current trial on corruption charges, Politico reported.

Lawyers for Menendez and Salomon Melgen, the other man facing bribery charges in the case, repeatedly threatened to file a motion for a mistrial during a hearing with U.S. District Judge William Walls on Thursday.

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In their filing on Sunday, the lawyers claim that Walls has blocked them from introducing key evidence in the case, including the testimony of two defense witnesses. They also claim that the judge's bias "evince[s] a cumulative abuse of discretion that has deprived Defendants of their Fifth and Sixth Amendments rights to a fair trial," according to Politico.

“At bottom, however, Defendants’ concerns are typified by the Court’s parting words at [Thursday’s] hearing: ‘Life is not fair and so too is judicial discretion.’ Despite the light-hearted nature of the Court’s comment, the fact remains that judicial discretion must be exercised fairly — otherwise, by definition, it is an abuse of discretion. ... Defendants submit that at key moments through this trial, the Court’s rulings have been unfairly prejudicial, inconsistent, and contrary to law,” the lawyers say in the filing, according to Politico.

Federal prosecutors are arguing that Menendez used his influence to help Melgen, and, in return, Melgen reportedly provided Menendez with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and campaign donations.