Judge in Menendez Bribery Trial Urges Jury to Push Through Deadlock
Nov 14 2017 by Desiree Burns
The judge excused the jurors for the day, but told them to return the next day - Tuesday, November 14th - in order to continue deliberating. The only question remaining is how many more days the judge will demand jurors deliberate before he throws in the towel and declares a mistrial.
The jury resumed deliberations earlier Monday with an alternative, following the dismissal of Arroyo-Maultsby. After a private discussion with those jurors, Walls allowed deliberations to continue until he received the note from the jury about the deadlock. "Forget about what happened last week".
Last week, a dismissed juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, told reporters that she believed Menendez was not guilty and predicted the trial would end with a hung jury.
Menendez has denied any bribery arrangement.
"I think the defense showed me enough to say he's not guilty on every count", she said.
Prosecutors accuse Menendez of engaging in a seven-year bribery scheme, accepting gifts from Dr. Salomon Melgen - a Florida ophthalmologist - in exchange for political favors.
"You don't want this sort of feedback from someone who heard all of the evidence", said Lee Vartan, a former federal prosecutor, about Arroyo-Maultsby's comment, CNN reported. Walls said the comments have had no effect on the jury and told the attorneys, "She was on your side". "She never had the votes". Bob Menendez has deadlocked, but the judge is still pushing for a verdict.
If Judge William Walls formally declares a mistrial, the Justice Department could refile the charges, former federal prosecutors said in CNN's report.
Menendez's trial is being closely watched for any impact on the balance of power in the US Senate, where Republicans have a slim 52-48 majority and Democrats want to hold onto the seat.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, leaves office on January 16, 2018. "It would exceptionally unusual for them to walk away from this type of public corruption case".