November 9, 2017
Washington, D.C.- Emerald Robinson, Political Correspondent
Jurors failed to reach a highly anticipated verdict today in the bribery and corruption trail of Democratic Senator Bob Melendez rounding out three full days of deliberation in a Newark, New Jersey, courthouse. The lack of a verdict today sets the jury back in deliberations. Come Monday, the jury will have to begin deliberations from the beginning as an alternate juror takes the place of one who cannot continue due to scheduling.
The judge in the trial had promised one of the original twelve jurors that the trial would not interfere with a previously scheduled vacation. The alternate juror has been present through the extent of the trial hearing both sides present their cases and evidence, as well as closing arguments, in the event that the service of said juror would be required. The jury will be out on Friday in observance of the Veterans’ Day holiday.
The jury is considering 18 different counts as a part of Melendez’s indictment including six counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of interstate travel to carry out bribery and one count of making false statements on his congressional financial disclosure to conceal crimes.
If charged, Melendez could potentially continue his service in the U.S. Senate as a felon. Democrats remain silent on any possible resignation for their colleague. Their silence is a stark contrast to the case of Republican Ted Stevens during his bribery charges in 2008 when then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the GOP senator’s resignation. Reid’s statement that had remained displayed on the Democrat Senate for over nine years calling for Steven’s resignation has recently been removed.