Miscommunication could leave Menendez unprosecuted
United States Sen. Bob Menendez is standing trial for corruption and bribery, but the jury and judge seem to be having trouble communicating.
Last week, a juror was excused for a pre-planned vacation and since a verdict had not been reached, the jurors started deliberations all over again with the replacement alternate. Then on Monday, after hours of deliberation, the jury informed the judge that they were deadlocked. The judge told them to come back and try again on Tuesday.
What's interesting here is that there has been speculation from the beginning that the charges brought against Senator Menendez were politically motivated. Menendez had several antagonistic positions to the Obama administration, Israel and the Iran deal and Cuba relations among the most important. Beyond political speculation, there's the potential impact a trial like this would have if the senator were to be convicted. What's the line between doing a job for friends in the contest of being an elected official and accepting gifts related to the friendship? By the standard seemingly set by the prosecution, the real answer would be that elected officials really can't have friends, or at least they would always have to pick up the tab.
Seems that given the deadlock among the jurors and the fact that previous trials for corruption have left elected officials off the hook including former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and now deceased former U.S Sen. Ted Stevens from Alaska.
First of all, it's about time we return to innocent until proven guilty. Too often political pundits and opponents are so quick to jump on a story because it helps create a self-serving narrative. Shame on the Republicans who jumped on Menendez before the trial really got underway calling for his resignation "if" he was convicted.
Of course, I can't help but to wonder out loud whether these same voices in the media and in political standing on principle when it serves their political ally will do the same as accusations emerge against Alabama U.S. Senate candidate, Judge Roy Moore. We'll see.
Back to Sen. Menendez, I did have an informative and insightful conversation Tuesday about the trial with former Morris County prosecutor and now defense attorney Bob Bianchi.
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