U.S. District Judge William Walls is considering whether to throw out several charges against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and his long-time friend Salomon Melgen.
NEWARK — Federal prosecutors have based much of their criminal case against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on allegations that the New Jersey Democrat accepted lavish gifts from a wealthy friend in exchange for helping him with government matters years later.
On Wednesday, the federal judge presiding over the pair’s criminal trial heard oral arguments on whether the bribery charges should be thrown out.
At the heart of defense attorneys’ arguments to get charges dismissed is “stream of benefits,” a legal theory that says bribery can come in the form of a so-called retainer where someone provides gifts or money over a period of time with the expectation of getting something from the recipient in return some time in the future.
Defense attorneys allege the legal validity of the “stream of benefits” theory was put into question by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“If I were the prosecution team right now, I wouldn’t be sleeping,” said Lee Vartan, a former federal and state prosecutor who is now a white-collar defense attorney at Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi.
After 6 weeks, prosecution rests in bribery trial of Menendez
Prosecutors have based their case on the stream of benefits theory by alleging the Florida ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, plied Menendez with gifts of lavish hotel rooms, stays at his home in the Dominican Republic, free plane rides and hefty campaign contributions between 2006 and 2013.
In return for those gifts, prosecutors contend, Menendez helped Melgen’s foreign girlfriends get visas to the United States, intervened in an $8.9 million Medicare dispute and tried to resolve Melgen’s port security contract dispute with the government of the Dominican Republic.
Defense attorneys have insisted Melgen’s gifts and Menendez’s actions …read more
Source:: New Jersey Real -Time News