Tomorrow is the beginning of the federal corruption trial involving Sen. Bob Menendez. A New Jersey Democrat, Menendez asked the court for days off to travel to Washington for “critical votes.” The judge wasn’t having it.
“The court suspects that the trial strategy behind this motion, if granted, would be to impress the jurors with the public importance of the defendant senator and his duties,” wrote Walls in the opinion published Friday. “No other plausible reason comes to mind. … Defendant Menendez, granted, as are all defendants, with the presumption of innocence, need not appear in court if he does not wish or wants to be absent. He may voluntarily absent himself. This is his prerogative.”
Menendez’s trial is scheduled to begin on September 6. He, along with his co-defendant, Florida-based ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, face 18 counts of fraud and bribery charges. Both have pleaded not guilty. …
“Defendant Menendez claims that he is in a ‘unique situation’ because his voting duties are ‘on a schedule not of his own making.’ But so are the duties of the radio repairman, the cab driver and the businessman.”
Photo credit: Cheryl Biren