New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez's Corruption Trial Set To Get Underway

Sen. Bob Menendez D-N.J. arrives on Capitol Hill Washington for a closed-door meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis

Abbe Lowell, Menendez's attorney, told jurors that friendship was the "true nature" of the senator's relationship with Melgen - not corruption. The judge rejected his request, saying he is no different from any other worker whose schedule is set by others but who has to be in court to face prosecutors...

A federal judge told a lawyer representing Sen.

Prosecutors also say Melgen allowed Menendez to make ten trips to the Dominican Republic on the Florida doctor's private jet, and then stay at the doctor's luxury resort for free.

A conviction would increase political pressure on Menendez to leave the Senate - either voluntarily or with a two-thirds vote to remove him from office.

"Senator Menendez is issuing a spirited defense", Schumer said. Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska was the last sitting USA senator to go on trial. Menendez, New Jersey's senior USA senator, later lied about the trips on Senate disclosure forms, Koski said.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is in court to support New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen.

On the same day that a $300,000 check from Melgen arrived at a Menendez political-action committee June 7, 2012, Menendez met with CMS's highest-ranking official and pressed the agency to "change the reimbursement policy leading to the $8.9 million repayment demand", the feds say.

The digital ad push, which will run on Facebook and Twitter, presses Democratic leaders in Congress, Senate Democrats up for 2018 re-election in states President Donald Trump won and Democratic senators, like Warren, who are rumored to be considering 2020 presidential bids, to answer whether to believe Menendez should keep his U.S. Senate seat if convicted.

Along with picking three more jurors needed before opening statements could begin, the morning featured some sparring between defense attorneys for Menendez and Judge William Walls. When attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that the motion was filed according to the judge's order from December, Walls replied, "Fine". Robert Menendez and Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist prosecutors say lavished the senator with private plane flights and other gifts in exchange for political favors that included intervening in a Medicare billing dispute. Similarly, Menendez's interest in port security in the Dominican Republic stemmed from a concern that potential US -supplied screening equipment wouldn't be used correctly, he said.

Menendez has vehemently denied the allegations.

Further complicating the process is the fact that 2017 is an election year in New Jersey, and Christie is largely expected to be replaced by Democrat Phil Murphy, who has been leading in the polls over Republican Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

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