Federal Judge Denies Menendez’s Request for Trial Delay in Corruption Case


Thursday, a federal judge turned down Sen. Bob Menendez’s lawyers’ request to put off his corruption trial for two months.

For the delay, Menendez’s lawyers said it was because of the “unprecedented foreign-agent charge against a sitting Senator” and the need to sort through millions of papers from discovery. Federal prosecutors said the request to wait was “unwarranted,” since no one was against the start date when it was announced in October and nothing has changed since then.

In an order on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein said that there was no need for the delay.

Stein wrote, “The fact that discovery has been very extensive is in line with what both sides said they expected on October 2 and does not justify a two-month delay of the schedule.” “The defendants were wrong about how much discovery material there was when they asked for the two-month delay on December 20.”

Stein wrote that because of an “accidental mistake made by a discovery vendor,” Menendez’s legal team thought it had gotten 735 terabytes of discovery papers when it only got 3 terabytes. In a document filed on December 20, Menendez’s lawyers said they had gotten “over 6.7 million documents (over 15 million pages)” from the government as discovery. This was equal to 735 terabytes.

“While three terabytes are, without a doubt, a lot of data, it is a tiny fraction of what the defendants thought they had to deal with, and it fits with what they said at the first pretrial conference—that discovery would be very heavy,” Stein wrote.

When asked for a comment, Menendez’s lawyers did not answer right away. The hearing for Menendez is set to start on May 6. His lawyers wanted the hearing to start in early July.

The government of Egypt and businesspeople in New Jersey got help from Menendez in exchange for gold bars, cash, and a fancy car. He is being charged by federal authorities. Federal officials also say that Menendez worked for Egypt as a foreign agent while he was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has since resigned from that job.

Menendez, his wife, and three businesses from New Jersey are all charged in the case. The charges against Menendez have been dropped, and he has said he is innocent.

The move to put off the trial might have political effects. He hasn’t said if he wants to run again, but if the trial starts in May, it will be right in the middle of the Democratic Senate primary in early June. A study from Rutgers-Eagleton that came out last month showed that 11% of people liked Menendez.

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First lady Tammy Murphy is running to replace Menendez. She has the backing of some of the most powerful Democrats in the state. On the Democratic side, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) is also running.

Christine Serrano Glassner is running as a Republican. She is the mayor of New Jersey and has ties to former President Donald Trump.

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