Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Justice Dept. says it will re-try Sen. Bob Menendez

Justice Dept. says it will re-try Sen. Bob Menendez

November's mistrial was a serious blow to the Justice Department, which has investigated Menendez for almost five years.

"The United States files this notice of intent to retry the defendants and requests that the Court set the case for retrial at the earliest possible date", the Justice Department said in a statement signed by Annalou Tirrol, acting chief of the public integrity section of the department. In the filing, they said "an early retrial date is in the best interest of the public".

A second trial this year could pose a major distraction for Menendez and his fellow Democrats, who are already facing an unfriendly electoral map in their quest to wrest control of the Senate.

Democrats who closely watched Menendez's first trial as they weighed bids for his office, including former Sen.

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Menendez, a sitting Senator, is up for reelection this year.

Menendez is up for re-election in November. Menendez is accused of using his office to help Melgen in a multimillion dollar billing dispute, and helping get visas for Melgen's girlfriends. Following the hung jury, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for an ethics probe against Menendez.

Prosecutors relied mostly on circumstantial evidence to prove their case - spending the opening weeks of trial painting a jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and powerful before ultimately turning to the "official acts" they argued Menendez did to help his friend.

Several jurors interviewed after the first trial said as many as 10 of 12 members of the panel were in favor of acquittal.

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