NEWARK, N.J. — After nine weeks of testimony and nearly eight hours of closing arguments spread over two days, a jury began deliberating Monday in the bribery trial of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and a longtime friend.
The case could have implications for a deeply divided Senate in the event of a conviction.
If the Democratic senator is convicted and steps down or is voted out by a two-thirds majority before New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves office Jan. 16, the term-limited Republican governor could appoint a replacement.
Menendez is charged with accepting trips on a private jet, luxury vacations, and other gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for pressuring government officials to resolve Melgen’s $8.9 million billing dispute with Medicare, a port screening contract in the Dominican Republic, and other issues.
Melgen also contributed more than $600,000 to political organizations that supported Menendez directly or indirectly.