Justice Department seeks to toss out charges against Sen. Menendez
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department asked a judge Wednesday, Jan. 31, to toss out its indictment against Sen. Robert Menendez, as anti-corruption prosecutors signaled surrender in the case a week after the judge voided some of the charges.
In a terse filing, federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares to "dismiss the superseding indictment'' against Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.
Menendez's first trial ended in a hung jury in November, with 10 of the 12 jurors voting to acquit him. Earlier this month, prosecutors had signaled they intended to retry the senator, and shortly after that a judge scaled back the case, tossing out some of the charges he and a co-defendant had faced.
The retreat on the Menendez case marks a setback for public integrity prosecutors at the Justice Department, as legal experts have questioned whether their authority to pursue such cases will be more limited in the wake of the Menendez mistrial and an earlier Supreme Court ruling.
Menendez, a senior lawmaker, has spent years fighting the charges. Prosecutors said he took gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, including a luxury hotel stay, private jet flights and campaign donations, in exchange for which he tried to help Melgen get U.S. visas for his girlfriends, intervened in the eye doctor's $8.9 million billing dispute with Medicare and assisted with a port security contract of Melgen's in the Dominican Republic.
Story by Devlin Barrett. Barrett writes about national security and law enforcement for The Post. He has previously worked at the Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the New York Post, where he started as a copy boy.