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Senator Menendez’s Ongoing Corruption Trial Has Democrats Scrambling for a Plan B

Senator Menendez’s Ongoing Corruption Trial Has Democrats Scrambling for a Plan B

And has some Republicans hopeful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xymyydAACPc

While the national media was losing their minds over the Alabama GOP’s nomination of failed candidate Roy Moore, a Democrat Senate seat in New Jersey has received little attention.

Democrat Senator Bob Menendez is in the middle of his second trial (the first a mistrial), facing corruption charges. We’ve covered the long, sordid history of allegations, indictments, and trials here.

In the midst of what would be a career-ending scandal for anyone else, Menendez is up for re-election. It’s been some fifty years since New Jersey elected a Republican Senator, so should Menendez be worried?

You bet.

Just yesterday, the AP reported a well-funded Democrat contender who filed to recently run against Menendez:

A Democratic political pundit and attorney is challenging New Jersey’s U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for their party’s nomination.

Michael Starr Hopkins has filed paperwork to run in the June primary against the two-term incumbent, who’s facing a retrial on federal corruption charges after his first trial ended in a hung jury last fall.

Hopkins says it’s important politicians reflect their constituents’ values. The Jersey City resident outlined his reasons for seeking the seat in an op-ed piece discussing issues such as health care, education and taxes.

Hopkins has been a public defender in New York and a political commentator on Fox News and other major networks. He’s a contributing writer for the Huffington Post and The Hill and worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign last year in Colorado.

But Hopkins is outside of the political pecking order. NewJersey.com (also Sunday) explored the political rumor mill’s list of succession:

It goes like this: If Menendez is convicted, or so damaged that he’s likely to lose, they will replace him, just as they replaced Sen. Bob Torricelli when he was under federal investigation during his 2002 re-election campaign.

Who would replace Menendez? Here’s the leading theory among a long list of Democrats I asked over several weeks:

Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st) would replace Menendez, answering a top priority of his brother George Norcross, who controls the biggest Democratic faction in the state Legislature.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) would leave the Statehouse to fill that vacant seat in Congress.

That would open Sweeney’s top spot in the state Senate, which would go to someone loyal to Murphy, probably from northern New Jersey, for regional balance.

“I’ve heard that 100 times,” Sweeney says. “People are saying that. But it’s putting the cart before the horse. Right now, we have a Senate candidate.”

While Democrats experience growing anxiety, some Republicans see an opportunity (still NJ.com):

Republicans have not chosen a candidate yet, but they are giddy about the prospects of Bob Hugin, a self-made millionaire and former Marine who told county chairmen recently that he would start the bidding by spending $20 million of his own money, and hopes to raise $40 million more, according to reliable sources in the GOP.

Imagine the flood of 30-second TV spots that money will buy. Menendez on a private jet to a luxury resort in the Caribbean, no charge. Menendez at a luxury hotel in Paris with a young woman, also gratis. Menendez hiding these gifts, despite the rules. Menendez doing favors for the man who paid for it all, his best pal, Salomon Melgen, a rich old man with a fondness for stray models, and now a convicted felon.

“Right now, a sitting Senator is vulnerable, and that creates an opportunity for us,” says the state GOP chairman, Doug Steinhardt.

I hesitate to make a comparison here with the Alabama/Roy Moore fiasco because no two states are alike, least of all New Jersey and Alabama, buuuttt…we do have a situation here where the candidate could become so toxic (like Moore), the turnout shows up to rebuff the candidate, flipping a seat.

Regardless, the Democrats are nervous, giving Republicans a chance (even if it’s minuscule) to make this a nasty, expensive race.

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Comments

It’s New Joisy. It will never be or represent the heartland. Neither will its politicians.

Every time I remember being there, I think of Newark (cesspool), Trenton (cesspool) and Fort Dix (a swamp that makes cesspools look like Lake Tahoe).

The “garden state” is closer to an amalgam of Chicago, Detroit and L.A.. If you look up corruption and effluent you get New York’s wanna be gangsta neighbor.

New Jersey is a good state to be from (past tense).

New. Jersey.

Period.

–Andrew

Just like paragons of virtue like Charlie Rangel, Menendez is never going to leave and Democrats are never going to force him to leave. They don’t care about laws, they’re for the little people.

Fort Monmouth wad nice, but it’s an office park now.

Hopkins says it’s important politicians reflect their constituents’ values.

I’m afraid it’s likely that with Menendez, they already do.

The charges against Menendez seemed suspicious the first time, and they don’t smell any fresher the second time. I’m surprised the US Attorney is trying again. No matter how much googoo prosecutors may wish otherwise, it is simply not a crime to do favors for ones friends, or to accept favors from ones friends. It is only a crime if there was a quid pro quo, i.e. the favors done by each defendant were understood by both to be in exchange for the favors received; and it is not legitimate to impute such an exchange to the defendants merely out of ones hostility to politicians as a class. And yet that seemed to be all the US Attorney had to offer.

    ” It is only a crime if there was a quid pro quo, i.e. the favors done by each defendant were understood by both to be in exchange for the favors received…”

    Menendez, 64, accepted an abundance of campaign donations, gifts and vacations from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, prosecutors alleged when Menendez faced trial in 2017. In return, prosecutors claimed, he used his position to lobby on behalf of Melgen’s business interests. Federal prosecutors said that Menendez “sold his office for a lifestyle that he couldn’t afford.” Throughout the original trial, defense attorneys sought to prove that Menendez and Melgen have been friends since before the former became a senator, and the trips were nothing more than friends traveling together.Melgen was convicted of 67 counts of health care fraud in April 2017 in what the Palm Beach Post called one of the biggest Medicare fraud cases in the U.S.
    During that case, prosecutors argued that Melgen, who was born in the Dominican Republic, robbed Medicare of as much as $105 million, according to the newspaper. Aside from Menendez, Melgen has given significant amounts of money to a variety of Democratic lawmakers, according to public records. The indictment also alleged that Menendez pressured State Department officials to give visas to three young women described as Melgen’s girlfriends.”
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/19/menendez-corruption-and-bribery-case-what-to-know.html

    It’s called a ‘triable issue.’

    Here, some reading for you:

    Lawyer: Kids Coloring Book
    https://www.amazon.com/Lawyer-Coloring-Spudtc-Publishing-Ltd/dp/1547160977/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1517285516&sr=8-4-fkmr0&keywords=what+do+lawyers+do%2C+kids+book

      Those were the prosecutors’ allegations, none of which they came even close to proving. They brought it to trial because they have a googoo belief that they don’t need to prove quid pro quo, that the mere doing of the favors is itself corrupt and illegal. But the law says otherwise. Mere hostility to politicians as a class does not justify assuming the existence of a corrupt deal without evidence to prove it.

        Forgot: you were there.

        Re-read this: “Melgen…robbed Medicare of as much as $105 MILLION dollars…Aside from Menendez, Melgen has given significant amounts of money to a variety of Democratic lawmakers, according to public records…”

        Read the pleading:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/politics/indictment-of-sen-robert-menendez-and-salomon-melgen/1651/

        (In case you don’t know, a “Pleading” is the beginning stage of a lawsuit in which parties formally submit their claims. The plaintiff submits a complaint stating the cause of action — the issue or issues in controversy.”)

          I suspect she/he/it has no actual clue how this lawyer stuff is supposed to work.

          Re-read this: “Melgen…robbed Medicare of as much as $105 MILLION dollars…Aside from Menendez, Melgen has given significant amounts of money to a variety of Democratic lawmakers, according to public records…”

          How is either of those facts even slightly relevant? Nobody even alleges that Menendez had anything to do with Melgen’s Medicare fraud. He was not charged with it. He’s completely unconnected with it. Nor does anyone allege that Melgen’s donations to other Democrats were corrupt; on the contrary, the fact that he gave other Ds money is evidence that his donations to Menendez were not consideration for services rendered but rather legitimate political donations just like the ones he gave all those other Ds.

Well this is in the same boat as Demorats picking up the 30 house seats they need while retaining every single one of theirs up for grabs.

Given these guys haven’t voted any other way than Democrats for umpty diddly years then I don’t see that changing any time soon no matter how corrupt the democrat is.

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