Jurors sent zero notes and asked zero questions throughout their 5 1/2 time of deliberations on Tuesday, giving no clue concerning whether they were any nearer to reaching a verdict on the 12 counts against Menendez. | AP Picture No verdict in Menendez case; jury will resume deliberations Wednesday
NEWARK – Jurors in the federal corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez went home Tuesday without achieving a verdict, a evening after telling the courtroom they were deadlocked on all charges.
Jurors sent zero notes and asked zero questions throughout their 5 1/2 time of deliberations on Tuesday, giving no clue concerning whether they were any nearer to reaching a verdict on the 12 counts against Menendez, a Democrat and New Jersey’s senior senator, and the 11 counts against his co-defendent, Florida vision doctor Salomon Melgen.
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Deliberations began the other day. However, Judge William Surfaces dismissed among the jurors previous Thursday therefore she could embark on a long-planned vacation. After changing her with another, Walls told the jury to start deliberations from scratch on Monday.
The 84-year-old judge did not seem concerned by the distance of the deliberations, saying that in his experience, jurors can take a “long, long time” to come to a decision.
At the end of your day Tuesday, Melgen legal professional Murad Hussain said that if the jury again says it is deadlocked, Walls should poll the foreman “regarding the utility of further deliberations,” then poll all of those other panel and then decide, after conferring with attorneys from both sides, whether calling a mistrial is appropriate.
Lead prosecutor Peter Koski, however, requested that if the jury remains deadlocked, Surfaces should instruct them that they can deliver a partial verdict if indeed they can come to a unanimous decision over any of the counts.
Walls said he had no issue with either suggestion.
Defense legal professionals also raised issues that Walls’ recommendations to the jury could “coerce” them into reaching a verdict. But Surfaces was skeptical of a security request to inform jurors that a hung jury can be an acceptable outcome.
“The law is pretty clear,” Menendez legal professional Raymond Brown said, “that a hung jury, to use the vernacular, is the legitimate consequence of a jury deliberation.”
Although he didn’t outright reject the demand, Walls challenged defense attorneys to find him a case when a judge gave that sort of instruction to a jury.
“Tell me various other case, various other trial court, various other circuit having said that this,” Walls said. “This is one time I don’t necessarily need to be 1st. Find some case that says that, alright? “As far as pressing and rushing somebody in a criminal case to reach a verdict, I have been accused of a lot of things but I’ve under no circumstances been accused of this.”
Prosecutors alleged Melgen plied Menendez with gifts, including personal jet flights, luxury resort stays and around $750,000 in campaign contributions. In exchange, Menendez allegedly visited bat for Melgen’s organization interests at the best levels of the government, seeking officials’ assist in his $8.9 million Medicare dispute, attempting to acquire U.S. officials to pressure the Dominican Republic to honor a lucrative port security agreement Melgen possessed and securing visas for three of Melgen’s former girlfriends.
The defense will not dispute Menendez did favors for Melgen, but argues they were borne out of a 20-year friendship and that Melgen’s disputes with the government raised genuine policy issues.
The trial begain Sept. 5. Deliberations are planned to resume at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.