(Sputnik) – “In all likelihood, there is a strong possibility” senior New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez “was convicted yesterday,” reporter Dominic Carter told Sputnik News Tuesday, speaking from the courthouse in Newark, New Jersey, where Menendez is being tried for corruption.
Menendez’s high-powered attorney, Abbe Lowell, had made an Article 29 motion to dismiss the charges against him — all 18 of them — because “this was going to be a tough case for prosecutors,” Carter reports, citing a judge’s reference to a prior case in which the motion was successful.
“The headlines from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and so on, indicated that a majority or at least the meat of this case would be dismissed,” Carter said. “Menendez went to court yesterday believing that all of it would be thrown out, and he left court yesterday with the same charges,” Carter said.
Menendez faces a slew of bribery charges. Notably, the lawmaker is accused of accepting gifts, taking free trips around the world on private jets and staying at an upscale hotel suite in Paris in exchange for helping his friend, eye doctor Salomon Melgen. In particular, the senator is accused of using his position of power to pressure those in power in the US government to help resolve his friend’s business issues. The pair’s alleged wrongdoings occurred from 2006 to 2013.
Carter, a US news reporter following Menendez’s trial, explained to Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik that Monday’s court proceedings were “devastating” for the senior New Jersey senator.
(The interview with Carter begins around the 75:00 mark.)
In addition to helping Melgen resolve a Medicare billing dispute, allowing the eye doctor fleece more money from taxpayers, the New Jersey Democrat also “took active steps to support the tourist and student visa application of three of Melgen’s girlfriends, as well as the visa application of the younger sister of one Melgen’s girlfriends,” according to a Justice Department indictment dated April 1, 2015.
A Florida jury found Melgen guilty of 67 charges of defrauding the federal government out of more than $102 million, My Palm Beach Post reported in May.
Menendez’s alleged efforts reached “all the way up to the highest levels of the US government,” the Justice Department said.
The eye doctor has contributed $750,000 to the senator’s election campaigns over the years, according to the DOJ.
“When this is in the hands of a jury, it’s very easy to connect the dots on an emotional level to corruption, so that’s why I say it was a very, very bad day for Senator Menendez,” Carter reports.