Deliberations have restarted in Sen. Bob Menendez's bribery trial in New Jersey after the judge questioned jurors about comments made by a dismissed juror.
Four jurors and three alternate jurors said Monday they'd heard something about the comments.
The dismissed juror told reporters Thursday she anticipated a hung jury and that she and others would have voted for acquitting the Democratic senator on all counts. She also said some jurors told her that her vote "didn't count" because she had to leave for a previously scheduled vacation.
The judge questioned the jurors who said they were aware of the comments, then ordered the jury to restart deliberations with an alternate in place of the dismissed juror.
The judge downplayed defense concerns that the comments could have contaminated the deliberations.
Prosecutors allege Menendez and a wealthy Florida eye doctor engaged in a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez traded his political influence for luxury vacations and flights on the doctor's private plane.
Both men deny the allegations. Defense attorneys have sought to show jurors that the two men are longtime friends who exchanged gifts out of friendship. They also contend Menendez's meetings with government officials were focused on broad policy issues.