Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New Jersey

Sen. Menendez Denied Trial-Schedule Request in Corruption Case

A judge in the federal bribery case against Sen. Bob Menendez has rejected his request to schedule the trial so that the New Jersey Democrat will be able to attend critical Senate votes.

Judge William Walls said in his decision filed Friday that he would not "serve as concierge to any party or lawyer." Walls said if Menendez wants to be absent from the trial, he has that right.

Menendez is charged with accepting campaign donations and gifts, including vacation trips, from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, then using his position to lobby for Melgen's business interests. Both men deny wrongdoing.

The trial is scheduled to begin next Wednesday, and the judge had already agreed to accommodate Menendez by scheduling it from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays, except Friday.

A pool of prospective jurors will assemble for questioning starting Tuesday that will lead to 12 jurors and four alternates for a trial scheduled to begin Sept. 6. Tracie Strahan reports.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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