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Bribery or friendship? Jury set to weigh Menendez evidence

November 1, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jurors in the bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend are to receive legal instructions from the judge in advance of closing arguments Thursday.

Menendez and the friend, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen (MEHL’-genn), are charged in an 18-count indictment with conspiracy, bribery, fraud and related offenses.

The trial is in its ninth week.

Prosecutors have sought to show that Menendez flew on Melgen’s private jet and accepted other gifts including luxury vacations between 2006 and 2013 in exchange for lobbying for Melgen’s business interests with government officials.

The men have known each other for more than 25 years and contend there was no bribery arrangement. Their attorneys have presented evidence seeking to show that Menendez was engaging in routine policy discussion when he met with executive branch officials.

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