Department of Justice Won’t Retry Senator Menendez

The Story:

On January 31, The U.S. Department of Justice said that it will not re-try its case against Senator Robert Menendez. This ends long-running litigation over the charge that Menendez used his office to trade favors with a Florida eye doctor, Solomon Melgen.

The Particulars:

The Senator is alleged to have pressured the government of the Dominican Republic into entering into a deal of benefit to Melgen’s company. In return (again, so ran the allegations), Menendez is said to have received more that $750,000 in campaign donations, valuable gifts, and free flights in Melgen’s private jet. Menendez’ defense has been that the gifts he received were given in consequence of the long friendship of the two men and that there was never quid pro quo for any official actions on his part.

The Thing to Know:

The range of the sort of exchanges that can be considered demonstrably corrupt under federal law has narrowed considerably in recent years.

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