Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Alan Dershowitz | robert Menendez | trial | acquittal

Dershowitz: Trial of Sen. Menendez Likely to End in Acquittal

By    |   Friday, 03 Apr 2015 11:13 AM

This week’s indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez on corruption charges is "questionable" and will likely result in an acquittal, says Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who weighed in on the Menendez case during an appearance Friday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

A federal grand jury indicted the senator and his longtime friend, Florida ophthalmologist and political donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, on one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, eight counts of bribery, and three counts of honest services fraud.

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The Justice Department says Menendez used his office to improperly benefit Melgen, who took Menendez on extravagant vacations aboard his luxury jet.

"Remember that in order to be convicted of a federal crime, you can't just receive gifts," Dershowitz said. "Friends give friends gifts. And you can't just do favors for friends. Friends do favors for friends. There has to be an explicit agreement that in exchange for an airplane ride or hotel room, I will get you something that you are otherwise not entitled to.

"Remember, political contributions are protected by the First Amendment, and also the check-and-balance function of Congress is protected under the speech and debate clause. This is going to be a very hard case for the feds to win, especially on the issue of a bribery and exchange of gifts."

The government might have an easier time getting Menendez for failing to report the gifts, a much less serious offense, he added.

"This sounds to me more like business as usual and selective prosecution and exercise of discretion to go after somebody who's been a thorn in the side of this particular administration on Cuba, on Iran, on some of the other issues as well," said Dershowitz.

Abbe Lowell, the lawyer representing Menendez in the case, is the same person who won an acquittal for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who was charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, falsifying documents and conspiring to receive and conceal the contributions.

"Whenever you go after a high, visible politician, you better have your case pretty solid, and this case does not seem particularly solid, particularly on the quid pro quo exchange of gifts for gifts," said Dershowitz. "This case is going to go to trial, I don't think it's going to be plea-bargained."

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This week's indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez on corruption charges is "questionable" and will likely result in an acquittal, according to Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who weighed in on the Menendez case during an appearance Friday on Newsmax TV.
Alan Dershowitz, robert Menendez, trial, acquittal
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2015-13-03
Friday, 03 Apr 2015 11:13 AM
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