Justice Dept. to retry Menendez on corruption charges

The Justice Department filed notice late Friday afternoon that it intends to retry U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on political corruption charges.

Menendez’s first trial, which in November, ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.

The Justice Department, which had until later in the month to decide whether it wanted to retry Menendez (D-N.J.) or drop the case, requested the trial be scheduled at “the earliest possible date.”

The trial could prove to be even more politically troubling for Menendez, as he is facing re-election this year.

Prosecutors have accused Menendez of taking bribes from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a longtime friend and wealthy ophthalmologist who lives in Florida, in return for political favors.

“Sen. Menendez and Dr. Melgen were indicted in the District of New Jersey on charges that included conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud,” the department said. “The decision to retry this case was made based on the facts and the law, following a careful review.”

Menendez, in a statement, said he expects to be exonerated of all charges and is sorry the government has decided to retry the case.

“We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has decided to double down on an unjust prosecution,” a spokeswoman said.

“Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall.”