High Court Won't Hear Menendez Corruption Charges Appeal

The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday denied [order list, PDF] an appeal by Senator Bob Menendez [official profile] in a bribery and fraud case.

The Trump administration urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal, which stemmed from a prosecution that began when Barack Obama was president. Robert Menendez, clearing the way for a criminal corruption trial that could begin as early as this fall.

Menendez, 63, is accused of improperly accepting gifts and hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for using his office to help Florida opthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Menendez argued that his actions were protected by the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause, which offers broad protection to members of Congress against prosecution for actions they undertake as legislators.

The top court rejected Menendez's petition to end the case without providing comment to explain its reasoning.

Menendez "has always acted in accordance with the law", Lowell added, and "remains confident that he will be vindicated when all the facts are heard at trial".

NJ.com reported, "The court, as is custom, gave no reason for deciding not to hear the appeal from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which in July ruled that the case should go to trial".

The New Jersey Democrat is also accused of advocating for Melgen's financial interests in a contract dispute between a private company and the Dominican Republic and in a Medicare billing dispute at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Melgen's trial for Medicare fraud is now underway in Palm Beach County. In September 2015, U.S. District Judge William H. Walls ruled that the trial should proceed. The verdict was set aside in 2009 because of misconduct by prosecutors.

  • Larry Hoffman