Judge Denies Request To Delay Sen. Menendez Bribery Trial

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein denied a motion filed by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that asked for a two-month delay in his upcoming corruption trial. Menendez has a long-standing reputation for political controversy and allegations of involvement in extensive bribery schemes. He faces serious allegations that he used his federal office for personal gain through a series of bribery transactions.

The senator’s legal team argued that a delay in the trial was justified on the grounds of the “overwhelming amount” of discovery documents the government has disclosed as potential evidence of his alleged crimes.

The defense motion was initially made in response to a disclosure by prosecutors that a truly staggering 735 terabytes of data was part of the case against Menendez. However, it was later learned that disclosure included a clerical error, and the actual amount of information to be disclosed was around three terabytes.

In denying the request for putting the trial off, Judge Stein stated, “The fact that discovery has been voluminous is consistent with the parties’ stated expectations on October 2 and does not justify a two-month adjournment of the schedule.”

Prosecutors allege Menendez used his influence in Washington to benefit New Jersey businesspeople and the government of Egypt in exchange for items of value, including gold bars, cash and a luxury vehicle.

Menendez is also accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Egypt while chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in violation of federal law. The senator has since resigned from that committee.

Meanwhile, Menendez and his attorneys remain firm in maintaining his innocence. The senator has dismissed the prosecution’s case as a “smear campaign” against him ever since the indictment against him was publicly disclosed. He has issued a public statement in which he referred to his situation as a “battle against forces aiming to silence” him. He took a similar approach in attacking the bribery case brought against him in 2015. Those charges were ultimately dropped by the Department of Justice in 2018.

The trial remains set to begin on May 6, adding another layer of intrigue to the case, as it coincides with the immediate runup to the New Jersey Democratic Senate primary in early June. Menendez, whose approval rating stood at a dismal 11% in a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll, has yet to announce his intentions regarding reelection.

Republican Christine Serrano Glassner, a New Jersey mayor with a close connection to President Donald Trump, is poised to challenge whoever becomes the Democratic Senate nominee next November.