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Senator Bob Menendez at the groundbreaking for the Portal North Bridge. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Reports: New federal investigation into Menendez underway

Previous corruption charges against Menendez ended in 2017 mistrial

By Joey Fox, October 26 2022 3:42 pm

As first reported by Semafor and later corroborated by NBC News and Politico New Jersey, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is once again facing a federal investigation, five years after a jury deadlocked on corruption charges in an earlier case.

According to Semafor’s Kadia Goba, who spoke with two people familiar with the investigation, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have issued at least one subpoena so far. The investigation reportedly concerns a different group of people than the ones charged in the previous case.

“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today,” Menendez adviser Michael Soliman told Politico NJ’s Matt Friedman. “However, he does not know the scope of the investigation.”

In 2015, Menendez and an ophthalmologist named Salomon Melgen were indicted on charges of fraud and bribery for allegedly trading political favors in exchange for campaign contributions. The trial began in September 2017 and lasted nine weeks before District Court Judge William Walls declared a mistrial because the jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict; the Justice Department dropped the charges against Menendez in January 2018.

Shortly afterwards, Menendez was re-elected to a third term, though it appeared he did pay some political price. An unknown and penniless challenger won 38% of the vote against Menendez in the Democratic primary, and Republican Bob Hugin turned the investigation into a major campaign issue.

Still, Menendez beat Hugin by 11 points, and just two years later he became the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a hugely powerful role that the senator had previously held from 2013 to 2015.

This year, Menendez successfully pushed for his son, Port Authority Commissioner Rob Menendez, to join him in Congress. The younger Menendez, who easily won the June primary for the solidly Democratic 8th congressional district, is guaranteed of a victory in two weeks.

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