A federal judge dropped a bomb on Democratic senator Bob Menendez (N.J.) on Wednesday when he rejected his last-ditch attempt to avoid a federal corruption trial slated to start next month.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Menendez has been accused of giving political favors to Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for campaign contributions and gifts. Today his lawyers asked that the case against him be dismissed on account of the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision to overturn the corruption conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell (R.).
The attorneys argued before the court that none of the alleged assistance he offered Melgen were “official acts,” and therefore, based on the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision, the legal argument against him was invalid. U.S. District Court Judge William Walls, however, wasn’t having any of it and ruled that the determination of whether Menendez performed an “official act” in his attempts to benefit Melgen will be made during the trial, which is set to begin on Sept. 6.
“Whether the acts alleged in the Superseding Indictment satisfy the definition of an ‘official act’ under McDonnell is a factual determination that cannot be resolved before the Government has the opportunity to present evidence at trial,” Walls wrote in his rejection.
Prosecutors say that Menendez asked government officials to assist Melgen in his billings dispute with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.