After more than three days of deliberation in the bribery and corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the jury is split and not close to a decision, said a juror who was excused from the panel, the Wall Street Journal reports. Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, who was excused to attend a cruise for a family wedding, said she would have voted for acquittal because prosecutors were trying to “railroad” Menendez. “They’re just trying to throw a good man under the bus,” she added. Jurors will start deliberations again with an alternate replacing Arroyo-Maultsby.
The case could affect the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen are accused of participating in a scheme in which the doctor allegedly bribed the senator with private flights, luxury vacations, and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors. If convicted, Menendez could serve prison time and be forced to step down from his Senate seat. Defense wyers say the government is trying to criminalize a genuine and longstanding friendship. Arroyo-Maultsby, a 61-year-old NJ Transit payroll auditor, said prosecutors “didn’t give me enough to show me it was bribery. They were friends.” Arroyo-Maultsby said most jurors think the defendants aren’t guilty. She predicted a hung jury.