Judge Sidney H. Stein, the New York federal judge presiding over the bribery trial of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, has rejected a defense request to delay the start of jury selection from May to July.
Driving the news: The trial date has been set for May 5th in Manhattan for Senator Menendez, his wife, and three New Jersey businessmen, all of whom have pleaded not guilty to charges related to a bribery conspiracy.
- Prosecutors opposed the request, arguing that they had previously warned the defense about the voluminous evidence they would provide, and nothing has changed since then.
- Judge Stein sided with the prosecutors, stating that the evidence turned over by the prosecution aligns with the amount of material they had projected for the trial.
- Menendez’s lawyers declined to comment on the judge’s decision.
The backstory: The bribery charges allege that the defendants enriched Menendez and his wife with cash, gold bars, and a luxury car. Additionally, Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen are charged with conspiring to illegally use the senator as an agent of the Egyptian government.
- Menendez’s defense lawyers had requested more time to prepare for trial, citing the large volume of evidence, including over 6.7 million documents, and the complexity of the case requiring additional time to resolve questions of law.
- Following his September arrest, Senator Menendez resigned from his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but has resisted calls to resign from his Senate seat.