By David Madden

NEWARK, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey’s senior US Senator will be seated at the defense table as his federal corruption trial begins with opening statements today in Newark.

Robert Menendez has been under a 14 count indictment for two years now. When that first came down, he was adamant prosecutors were making a mistake.

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“Prosecutors at the Justice Department don’t know the difference between friendship and corruption and have chosen to twist my duties as a

Senator and my friendship into something that is improper,” Menendez said at the time.

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The accusation? That he traded favorable treatment on behalf of a wealthy Florida ophthalmologist in return for political contributions and first class travel.

Dr. Salomon Melgen, the friend in this scenario, is also on trial in Newark.

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This will be the first test of a recent Supreme Court ruling that makes it more difficult to convict a politician of bribery.