Embattled Senator Bob Menendez, on trial for corruption, is hoping for some divine intervention after he faced the closing prosecution’s arguments on Thursday.
Given what the New York Post called a “damning closing argument by the prosecution,” the New Jersey Democrat is likely going to need all the prayers he can get.
After getting “hammered” by Justice Department J.P. Cooney, who told jurors the senator had been bribed by a wealthy donor, Menendez gathered to pray with supportive clergy members in the Newark federal court hallway.
According to prosecutors, Menendez did valuable favors for Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for gifts. Some of those favors even included obtaining visas for Melgen’s mistresses.
Menendez had hoped for a mistrial declaration based on the inability to introduce “key evidence,” but a federal judge rejected the request on Monday, opening up the very real possibility that the New Jersey senator could lose his senate seat, and his freedom, if found guilty.
“Sen. Menendez was determined to hide his bribery with Dr. Melgen. He was determined to hide the fact that he was bought to serve as Dr. Melgen’s own personal senator,” said Cooney on Thursday.
Menendez’s lawyers will have their turn to counter Monday, when they are scheduled to make closing arguments.
“I look forward to my attorney … making a very compelling case as to why the jury should be finding us innocent,” said Menendez outside court Thursday.
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