New Jersey senator Bob Menendez’s bribery trial ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to return a verdict twice, first on Monday and again earlier today.
According to a note penned today, the jurors said they were unable to return a unanimous verdict on any of the 18 counts and unwilling “to move away from our strong convictions.” U.S. District Court judge William Walls, who presided over the case, made his decision after interviewing the foreman, at least one other juror, and both lawyers.
After the jury informed Walls that it remained deadlocked this morning, Walls rejected the prosecution’s suggestion that the jury return to deliberation or give them option of issuing a partial verdict. According to the judge, such action would go down “the slippery slope of coercion.”
The prosecution has the option of retrying Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, though it is unclear as to whether it will do so. Both men were charged with participating in a bribery scheme whereby Menendez exchanged political favors for financial benefits from Melgen.