New Jersey. The great suburb. It produces an odd breed of politician. Corzine, Christie, Menendez.
As the bribery case against Sen. Bob Menendez concludes, Senate Democrats could face a stark question — how long will they stick by the New Jersey Democrat if he’s convicted?
Menendez’s lawyers have a final chance Monday in their closing arguments to persuade the jury hearing his case in Newark that the veteran lawmaker is not guilty.
With Menendez’s fate likely to be decided within days, Democrats are already quietly strategizing on how to respond if he’s found guilty. They will be in no rush to expel or force Menendez out of office, even if a Democrat wins the New Jersey gubernatorial race, according to several Democratic senators and aides.
Menendez was indicted by the Justice Department in April 2015 and accused of taking official acts on behalf of a close friend and donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, including helping the Florida ophthalmologist with an multi-million-dollar Medicare dispute, in exchange for hotel rooms, private jet flights and around $750,000 in political contributions. Melgen has already been convicted in the Medicare overbilling case and is awaiting sentencing.
Menendez has refused to say whether he’d resign if convicted.