Twelve days after federal prosecutors told a federal court in New Jersey that they would re-try Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on a series of corruption charges, the Justice Department suddenly switched gears on Wednesday, announcing that the charges would be dropped.
“(T)he United States of America moves to dismiss the Superseding Indictment,” federal lawyers stated in a terse notice to federal District Judge William Walls.
Menendez and his co-defendant, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, were originally charged with bribery and corruption, but a federal jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict during a trial that ended in a mistrial late in 2017.
Back on January 19, it was a much different tune from the feds, who made clear they were not going to let a hung jury stop their prosecution of the veteran New Jersey Democrat.
“An early retrial date is in the best interests of the public, and the United States is available to schedule a retrial at the Court's earliest convenience,” lawyers for the Government stated.
Lawyers for Menendez and Melgen did not object to the change of heart by the Justice Department.
“Defendants Senator Robert Menendez and Salomon Melgen have no objection to the Government's motion to dismiss the Superseding Indictment. Defendants request that the Court order the dismissal with prejudice and that all conditions of release imposed upon them be lifted,” the lawyers replied in their own filing.
On Twitter, Menendez expressed his relief.