A US District judge declared a mistrial in New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez’s [official profile] federal corruption trial on Thursday after questioning the 12 jurors. Following several hours of deliberation, the jury announced that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” [Reuters report] in a note [WP report] sent before noon that read: “We cannot reach a unanimous decision. Nor are we willing to move away from our convictions.” The three-year investigation into Menendez was helmed by the Justice Department (DOJ) [official website] and resulted in corruption and bribery charges [JURIST report] being brought against him last April.
The senator has allegedly [CNN report] accepted more than $600,000 worth of political contributions, a luxury hotel suite in Paris and free flights on a private jet in exchange for political favor. Ed Norris, a juror, said that there wasn’t any incriminating evidence against Menendez aside from the emails [WP report] he exchanged with his long-time friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Federal prosecutors can still retry Menendez next year but the prosecutors will first have to deal with a decision [SCOTUSBlog materials] from the Supreme Court [official website] that will make it harder to prosecute [LA Times report] officials who take bribes.