Tags: Robert Menendez | corruption | indictment | First Amendment

Report: Indicted Menendez to Cite First Amendment as Defense

By    |   Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:42 PM

New Jersey's indicted Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez reportedly will use a First Amendment "speech or debate" argument to try to get his corruption case dismissed.

The Asbury Park Press reports the veteran lawmaker's lead attorney, Abbe Lowell, told U.S. District Judge William Walls that the official move for dismissal will come once the defense team pores through the state's voluminous case file.

"There are 450,000 or more pieces of paper we have received now,'' Lowell told the judge.

The lawyer didn't elaborate on the defense strategy, but the newspaper noted that the Constitution's speech or debate clause protects congressional lawmakers' legislative activities from interference by the executive branch.

According to the April 1 indictment, Menendez allegedly used his office to illegally help a longtime friend and big campaign contributor, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, who also is charged in the case.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Walls set Oct. 13 as a tentative trial date, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Menendez wasn't at court Wednesday, staying in Washington for a Senate vote on a human-trafficking bill that has been holding up the confirmation vote on Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, the newspaper reports.

Melgen – charged in a separate 76-count federal indictment in Florida with attempting to defraud Medicare out of as much as $190 million – is being held in a federal detention center in Miami, the newspaper reports.

The Asbury Park Press reports that Lowell told the judge he might ask that Menendez and Melgen be tried separately.

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New Jersey's indicted Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez reportedly will use a First Amendment "speech or debate" argument to try to get his corruption case dismissed.
Robert Menendez, corruption, indictment, First Amendment
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2015-42-22
Wednesday, 22 Apr 2015 06:42 PM
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