Justice Department Wants to Re-Try Mendendez

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Prosecutors had accused the senator of accepting bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, in return for political favors. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., after a jury deadlock resulted in a mistrial on corruption charges in November. A statement released by the senator's office said that he "fully intends to be vindicated - again". The retrial announcement comes just as Menendez gears up for re-election in the fall.

Menendez took trips on the doctor's private jet, vacations in Paris and the Dominican Republic and $750,000 in campaign contributions, the government said in the court proceedings.

"We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has chose to double down on an unjust prosecution", the senator's office said in a statement Friday.

Melgen, who was separately convicted previous year in Florida of perpetrating a massive Medicare fraud, will also be retried, the Justice Department said. The first trial ended in a mistrial with a deadlocked jury. Jurors told reporters afterward that the vote was 10-2 to acquit both men.

Menendez hailed the mistrial as a victory.

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On Friday the senator's office issued a statement batting away the case against Menendez as baseless.

Harrison Neely, a GOP strategist, noted that a Rutgers-Eagleton poll in November found that more than half of New Jerseyans said Menendez didn't deserve to be re-elected.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it plans to retry U.S. Sen.

During the month of December, Menendez said it was unlikely that prosecutors would continue with the case, but if they did, he added: "Bring it on". Instead, he claimed that he tried to help Melgen out of the goodness of his heart.

"Defense attorneys in their opening statements and closing arguments during the first trial "made baseless accusations of racial animus on the part of the Government", that invited the jury to consider the defendants' ethnicity and political affiliation in resolving the charges against them", prosecutors wrote.

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