U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) intends to run for re-election this year even though federal prosecutors plan to retry him on corruption charges, reports NJ.com. The case against Menendez ended in a mistrial in November, when jurors could not reach a verdict. The U.S. Department of Justice had until the end of the month to decide whether to drop the charges against Menendez or pursue another trial.
Prosecutors alleged that Menendez, 60, traded his power as a senator for bribes from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, a friend. The senator was accused of accepting six-figure campaign contributions, luxury hotel stays and private plane flights in exchange for his intervention for Melgen in a $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute, visa applications for the doctor’s foreign girlfriends and a port security contract in the Dominican Republic. Prosecutors also accused Menendez of purposely hiding Melgen’s gifts by making false statements on Senate disclosure forms. Menendez’s defense attorneys said the gifts were simply expressions of a 20-year friendship. Top Democrats in the state, including new Gov. Phil Murphy, are standing by Menendez.