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United States v. Menendez

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

January 24, 2018, Decided; January 24, 2018, Filed

Cr. No. 15-155

Opinion

 [*611]  Defendants Senator Robert Menendez ("Menendez") and Doctor Salomon Melgen ("Melgen") (together, "Defendants") move under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29 for a judgment of acquittal. Defendants are charged in an eighteen-count superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud (Count 1), violating the Travel Act (Count 2), bribery (Counts 3-14), and honest services mail and wire fraud (Counts 15-17). Menendez is additionally charged with making false statements to a government agency (Count 18). After a nine-week trial, the jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts. For the following reasons, the Court denies the motion as to Counts 1-8,15,16, and 18, and grants the motion as to Counts 9-14 and 17.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts for the purposes of this motion. As to the procedural history of this case, Defendants were arraigned under a superseding indictment on August 22,2017. Jury selection began that day, and trial commenced on September 6. On October 11, at the close of the Government's case, Defendants made their first motion for acquittal. Oct. 11,2017, Tr. at 88; ECF No. 241. [**3]  Following oral argument and briefing by the parties, the Court denied the motion in part and reserved in part. Oct. 16, 2017, Tr. at 34-57. Defendants renewed their motion on October 30 at the close of all evidence. ECF No. 261. In addition, Menendez moved to dismiss Count 18 on the ground that the Government had not introduced evidence that venue is proper in this District. ECF No. 262. After the jury deadlocked and the Court declared a mistrial, Defendants again renewed their Rule 29 motion on November 30. ECF No. 281.

 [*612]  LEGAL STANDARD

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291 F. Supp. 3d 606 *; 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11737 **; 2018 WL 526746

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. ROBERT MENENDEZ and SALOMON MELGEN, Defendants.

Prior History: United States v. Menendez, 109 F. Supp. 3d 720, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77581 (D.N.J., June 16, 2015)

CORE TERMS

official act, quid pro quo, rational jury, public official, Defendants', advocacy, Counts, political contribution, bribery, infer, venue, concealment, official action, contributions, thing of value, benefits, donation, email, fundraiser, stream, gifts, no evidence, bribe, corruption, campaign contribution, expenditures, multi-dosing, donor, present evidence, gratuities

Criminal Law & Procedure, Trials, Motions for Acquittal, Standards of Review, Substantial Evidence, Sufficiency of Evidence, Bribery, Public Officials, Elements, Abuse of Public Office, Illegal Gratuities, Burdens of Proof, Prosecution, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Juries & Jurors, Province of Court & Jury, Factual Issues, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Judicial & Legislative Restraints, Racketeering, Travel Act, Fraud Against the Government, False Statements, Fundamental Rights, Criminal Process, Right to Jury Trial, Jurisdiction & Venue, Venue, The Judiciary