Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying

The judge in the corruption trial for Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate passes .5B border bill, setting up fight with House MORE (D-N.J.) ordered the jury to continue working after jurors said they were deadlocked on all charges.

U.S. District Judge William Walls ordered the jury to “clear their heads” on Monday and return to court the next day, CNN reported Monday.

The jury had restarted deliberations earlier Monday after initially beginning them last week.


An alternate juror had replaced one excused from the trial for vacation on Monday.

"You are starting fresh. Forget about what happened last week,” Walls told the jury earlier Monday. “This is the jury."

Prosecutors claim that Menendez was part of a bribery scheme with Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen, claiming Melgen gave donations and gifts to the senator in exchange for political favors.

Both men have denied all charges, saying the gifts and vacations were part of a decades-long friendship. Melgen is a co-defendant in the trial.

Prosecutors say that Menendez helped get visas for Melgen’s foreign girlfriends and helped to protect a port security contract in the Dominican Republic for him. They also say Menendez intervened in a dispute between Melgen and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Menendez received trips on private jets, stays in luxury hotels and campaign donations from Melgen in exchange for the political favors, according to prosecutors.

Melgen and Menendez’s lawyers had earlier requested that Walls declare a mistrial in the case, claiming he had blocked them from introducing key evidence and witnesses. Walls rejected that request.

With Republicans holding a slim two-seat majority in the Senate, leaders have been watching the trial closely over the possibility that GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could replace Menendez with a Republican.