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Feds: Menendez judge might ‘legislate pay-to-play politics’ – WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

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(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File). FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2017, file image, Sen. Bob Menendez gets here to court for his federal corruption trial in Newark, N.J. A decision is looming in the trial of Menendez that could result in the termination of charges and al.

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More > > By DAVID PORTER
Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – The judge in U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial might rule on Monday to dismiss the bulk of the indictment against the New Jersey Democrat, a choice that prosecutors state might “broadly legislate pay-to-play politics.”

After hearing 6 weeks of testament and seeing dozens of e-mails and files that prosecutors declare program Menendez schemed to help a wealthy pal in exchange for complimentary airplane rides and high-end hotel remains, jurors may never ever get to deliberate those points.That will depend on how U.S. District Judge William Walls selects arguments by lawyers for Menendez and his long time pal, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, to dismiss the case. Legal representatives on both sides are set to present additional arguments Monday morning prior to Walls decides.At concern is a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court judgment that overturned the conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and narrowed the definition of bribery. In recent months, it has actually led judges to toss out bribery convictions for 3 former public officials, including a U.S. congressman.After the prosecution rested its case and with jurors out of the room, Walls surprised some last week when he appeared to lay to rest exactly what was anticipated to be the trial’s central problem: whether Menendez’s conference and interactions with government authorities could be thought about” official acts”under McDonnell’s new, narrower meaning of bribery.Instead, he concentrated on the so-called “stream of benefits” theory, which in the past has actually held that an allurement doesn’t need to be made with the intent to prompt a particular authorities action.If the judge rules the theory can’t be used to this case, it might cut out the heart of

the 18-count indictment: the 12 bribery counts, six versus each guy; the leading count, conspiracy to participate in honest services wire scams, and perhaps 3 others.The judge suggested recently he would leave undamaged one count of making incorrect declarations versus Menendez for

not stating Melgen’s gifts on his Senate disclosure forms.The indictment charges Menendez with accepted the flights on Melgen’s private aircraft and other presents over a seven-year duration in exchange for pressuring executive branch authorities on behalf of Melgen in an$ 8.9 million Medicare billing conflict and a contested contract for port screening equipment in the Dominican Republic.Defense attorneys for Menendez and Melgen contend language in the McDonnell choice needs that a supposed kickback be provided in exchange for an official taking an action- or accepting-on a specifically identified”question, cause, match, continuing or controversy.” Menendez lawyer Abbe Lowell argued the prosecution used a”mix and match” method to pair Melgen’s presents with actions Menendez took control of the years, without developing direct connections.”They are one, two years apart,”he said. “Sometimes the allurement is apparently for something three months in the past.”In action, Justice Department attorney Peter Koski argued the Medicare disagreement and the port agreement were the” recognized questions “which a public official does not need to specify how he will perform his end of the bargain.In a brief filed Saturday, prosecutors cited cases because the McDonnell judgment where, they wrote, federal appeals courts have actually left the stream of benefits theory undisturbed.Invalidating it, they wrote, would “jettison the vast majority

of bribery prosecutions, and broadly legislate pay-to-play politics.”Contact Porter at https://www.twitter.com/DavidPorter_AP!.?.!Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights scheduled. This product may not be released, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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http://wkow.com/story/36602480/feds-menendez-judge-could-legalize-pay-to-play-politics

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