A website is letting people bet on Sen. Menendez’s corruption trial
A website is giving people the chance to profit off the fate of a legislator who prosecutors say profited off his office.
The website PredictIt — a Washington D.C. -based company that gives people the chance to bet on political and financial issues — is offering users the chance to place money on whether Sen. Bob Menendez from New Jersey will be convicted on charges he used his position to make thousands of dollars illegally for himself and longtime friend Salomon Melgen.
The site and similar "prediction markets" are legal to use because of the way they're structured, although political gambling is generally illegal in the United States, according to the Washington Post.
Bets are being taken solely on whether Menendez will be convicted of the charges, and not whether he will remain in office. Senate rules do not require a senator found guilty of a crime to step down, though other senators can oust one following a conviction.
Those interested in betting on the end result can by "shares" on whether they will be convicted or not, and those shares come at varying prices.
As of Monday night, more than 2,500 shares had been traded on the question.
So far during the trial, prosecutors have shown that Menendez failed to report free flights and other travel arrangements that were paid for by Melgen's American Express points on official Senate forms. Menendez has argued the matter was an oversight and has reimbursed the Florida doctor around $58,000.
An FBI agent called to testify against the senator said at least some of those reimbursements did not happen until early 2013 when questions about the travel started to make their way through the press.
The trial is expected to last for at least a few more weeks.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com