Congress has a busy few months ahead of it, but one member won’t be around for much of it. Instead, he’ll be in a federal courtroom in New Jersey, standing trial in the Senate’s biggest corruption trial in a generation.
The congressman in question is Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey. (Bonus points: Guess which one of those descriptors the New York Times glossed over at first.) He’ll be standing trial with his longtime friend, Florida ophthalmologist and alleged “patron” Dr. Salomon Melgen, on 18 counts of fraud and bribery.
Prosecutors allege that the pair engaged in a years-long pay-for-play relationship, in which Menendez “sold his office” for cushy vacations and political donations, while kicking back various favors that benefitted Melgen both personally and professionally.
Both men have plead not guilty and deny the claims.
But it’s not just the senator in hot water; he’s bringing the rest of his Senate colleagues with him.
The federal judge in the case had denied Menendez’s requests to work around his legislative schedule, and with such a busy legislative session between now and the end of the year, Menendez taking time away from the chamber is going to put a real strain on the Democrat minority when every single vote counts.
On a recent episode of CRTV’s Capitol Hill Brief, we ask: “Where in the world is Sen. Bob Menendez?” and come up with one clear answer: In a whole heap of trouble.