ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CBS) — Federal prosecutors have done an about-face, deciding to drop all corruption charges against New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and a co-defendant. Word of the decision reached state officials gathered for an event down the shore.
Little more than a week ago, the feds announced they’d retry Menendez and Ophthalmologist Salomon Melgin. Their first trial ended with a hung jury last November. After a judge last week dismissed many of the charges, prosecutors decided to throw in the towel.
Governor Phil Murphy, at an event in Atlantic City, considered it a “great day” that Menendez can now do his job unencumbered by federal charges.
“Everyone in this country has a right to the full extent of our justice system,” Murphy told KYW Newsradio, “and we shouldn’t spend one second speculating and this is another good example that would have been a waste of time.”
That sentiment was echoed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester County).
“It would have been unfair for our senator to have to go through a second trial when they did their best,” Sweeney said. “They gave him their best shot and they couldn’t knock him down.”
Menendez, in a statement, expressed gratitude that “the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion.”
The senator is up for re-election in the fall and has not yet announced his future intentions.