The Latest: Menendez judge questions jurors about coverage
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on jury deliberations in the bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend (all times local):
The judge in Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial is questioning jurors about comments made last week by a dismissed juror.
Four jurors and three alternate jurors told the judge Monday they had heard or read something about the trial over the weekend. He is questioning them in his chambers.
Jurors are instructed before and during the trial not to read reports about the case.
The dismissed juror told reporters on Thursday she anticipated a hung jury and that she would have voted for acquitting the Democratic senator on all counts. She also said some jurors told her that her vote “didn’t count” because she had to leave by Thursday for a previously scheduled vacation.
The panel is set to start over Monday with an alternate juror in her place.
Jury deliberations in the bribery trial of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez are scheduled to resume amid uncertainty over the fallout from comments made by an excused juror last week.
The juror told reporters on Thursday that although many jurors appeared to be leaning toward acquittal, she anticipated a hung jury.
Prosecutors allege Menendez and a wealthy Florida eye doctor engaged in a bribery scheme between 2006 and 2013 in which Menendez traded his political influence for luxury vacations and flights on the doctor’s private plane.
Both men deny the allegations. Defense attorneys have sought to show jurors that the two men are longtime friends who exchanged gifts out of friendship. They also contend Menendez’s meetings with government officials were focused on broad policy issues.