A federal judge refused Monday to toss out any of the charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in the ongoing corruption trial stemming from his alleged use of office to secure business deals for a friend in exchange for gifts, CBS News reports. Menendez allegedly did government favors for Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen for years in return for lavish presents, including a luxury suite in Paris, flights on a private plane, and thousands of dollars in donations.
Menendez's team argued unsuccessfully that a 2016 Supreme Court decision narrowing the definition of bribery should allow for Menendez's case to be tossed. "None of what Menendez did qualified as quid pro quo corruption under the revised test, his lawyers said, because Menendez never agreed to perform any specific act when he received specific favors from Melgen," NBC News writes.
Menendez's defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, also said prosecutors were trying to turn gift-giving that had been common over a 25-year friendship into something it was not: "These two men refer to each other as brothers," Lowell said.
"We are living in a real world of reality and common sense," concluded U.S. District Judge William Walls. "The jury will decide whose version of what happened or didn't happen is more likely than not." Jeva Lange