Nation

In 10th week, US senator’s bribery trial goes to jury

The N.J. senator is charged with corruption.
The N.J. senator is charged with corruption.

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.

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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.