NEWARK – The defense in Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial argued this afternoon the judge in the case should dismiss all charges against Menendez and his co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen because the government has been unable to establish links between Menendez’s official acts and gifts from his friend Melgen.
Judge William Walls could rule on the motion to dismiss as early as this afternoon. He was expected to return from a brief recess around 3:20 p.m. in order to hear further argument.
Menendez’s attorney Abbe Lowell said the Justice Department, which rested its case earlier today, failed to establish the quid pro quo between Melgen’s largesse and Menendez’s actions as a senator.
“So far, there’s been a list of potential quids and a list of potential quos and so far there has been nothing to tie them together,” Lowell said.
Both Lowell and Kirk Ogrosky, Melgen’s lawyer, emphasized the circumstantial nature of the case, along with the lack of “smoking gun” piece of evidence to prove corrupt aims between the two defendants.
“There is no email, there is no text, there is no witness, there is no evidence of a specific agreement,” Ogrosky said.
“You have to connect the official act to the quid,” Lowell said.
Both defense lawyers argued the government was simply noting events and trying to establish them as corrupt due to the fact they occurred within weeks or months of each other.
Where can a jury be allowed to make an inference based on a temporal connection?” Lowell asked.
Ogrosky was expected to continue his argument upon return from the break, then Walls would likely hear the prosecution’s position. Jurors were sent home shortly after noon when the prosecution rested, though Walls told them to come back Monday morning.