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SCOTUS Refuses to Dismiss Corruption Charges Levied Against Democratic Sen. Menendez

SCOTUS Refuses to Dismiss Corruption Charges Levied Against Democratic Sen. Menendez

Will head to court in September

It’s been almost two years since Sen. Bob Menendez was indicted by a grand jury and charged with fourteen felony counts of criminal corruption.

The Democratic Senator from New Jersey was investigated by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and accused of using his federal office to help wealthy dentist and long-time friend and campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen by attempting to sway policy that would be favorable to Melgen’s business.

The video primer:

From the New York Times (April 1, 2015):

The charges had long been expected and Mr. Menendez, a 61-year-old Democrat of New Jersey, has promised to fight them. He has offered no indication that he plans to step down or relinquish any power while he goes through that process.

The case involves Mr. Menendez’s longtime friendship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye surgeon and political benefactor. The two men became friends in the 1990s and have spent holidays together in the Dominican Republic, where Dr. Melgen, 60, has a home in the gated oceanfront resort of Casa de Campo.

Prosecutors say Dr. Melgen lavished the senator with gifts, including two round-trip flights worth $58,000 aboard his private jet. In turn, prosecutors say that Mr. Menendez used his Senate seat to help Dr. Melgen when he, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, encouraged the Obama administration to change the Medicare reimbursement policy in a way that would make millions for the doctor.

Mr. Menendez said the Medicare debate was a legitimate policy discussion, not a personal favor. The Finance Committee oversees Medicare finances. He says the gifts he received from Dr. Melgen should be reviewed in the context of their long friendship.

Sen. Menendez vowed to fight the charges and did. Menendez appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that “a Philadelphia appeals court misinterpreted the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause, which bars the executive and judicial branches from questioning a member of Congress about legislative activity.”

The Supreme Courtwho dismissed Mendendez’s appeal Monday without comment.:

With Monday’s announcement, Menendez can no longer block the proceedings against him from moving forward, a major setback for his efforts to avoid criminal trial.

Abbe Lowell, Menendez’s lead defense attorney, said the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal was “disappointing,” but still said Menendez will be “vindicated when all the facts are heard at trial.”

“It’s disappointing that the Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to set a clear, bright line of the separation of powers to ensure that Congress remains an independent and co-equal branch of government, free of interference and retribution from the executive as the Framers intended,” Lowell said in a statement. “While the senator always understood it is rare that the Supreme Court hears any case before trial, given the gravity of the Constitutional issues raised, he believed it was important to try.”

Lowell added: “As the senator has been saying for more than four years since the government began chasing these wild allegations, he has always acted in accordance with the law. Sen. Menendez remains confident that he will be vindicated when all the facts are heard at trial.”

Menendez will go to trial in September.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye

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Comments

Menendez really means that he’s confident that he’ll be found to be above the law. That corrupt idiot has no business being in the Senate. But then those NJ voters have to have their dems in office no matter how corrupt or incompetent they are.

DDsModernLife | March 20, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Menendez – what a piece of work! The corruption investigation by the DoJ also uncovered potential sex activities with underage prostitutes as outlined here:

http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/24/doj-underage-prostitution-allegations-against-robert-menendez-backed-by-corroborating-evidence/

This is shortly followed by having a New Jersey elementary school renamed in his honor! Is that not too twisted to be called simply “ironic”?

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2013/12/school_3_in_west_new_york_renamed_after_menendez.html

I realize he is probably corrupt. However, he was only charged when he spoke out against Obama on Israel.

    JOHN B in reply to davod. | March 20, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Menendez should have been an “honest” Democratic politician by doing things like: (a) holding up countries until they give your husband a large bribe (b) selling out US interests whenever evil countries pay her husband a very large bribe (c) pay for your daughters wedding by stealing from a charity(d) looting an entire poverty-stricken nation which suffered a terrible catastrophe… and so on.

    There is not enough space to list all the times Harry Reid took positions which only benefited his friends and himself.

    But they stood with Obama so they get a pass.

There is no law against a legislator helping a friend. It’s only against the law to solicit or accept money in return for such help, and the fact that they’re long-time friends should make it impossible to prove that the favors he did Melgen were related to the gifts he got from him. He’s also right about the speech and debate clause; neither the FBI nor any court has the right to inquire into anything he said or did on the senate floor to help Melgen. The only way they could lawfully convict him would be to prove that he and Melgen had an explicit quid-pro-quo agreement that linked gifts to specific legislative action. (The agreement would of course have been made off the senate floor, and therefore is not immune.)

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | March 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Since this was Obama and Holder, what it makes me wonder is what did he do to piss them off and make them retaliate?

How corrupt do you have to be for Obama and Holder to let a fellow Democrat be charged with corruption? Or what did he not do that they wanted him to?

I have a question regarding his past that has nothing to do with this case.

Menendez was Mayor of Union City from 1986 – 1991. He was also a General Assemblyman from 1988 thru 1991. Then a state Senator from 1991 thru 1993. How can he be Mayor of a city and in the state legislature at the same time? I mean I know New Jersey is different but dang.

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