Menendez Jury Says It’s Deadlocked, Judge Tells Them to Keep Trying

(CN) – A federal judge in New Jersey ordered the jury in U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez’s corruption trial to keep trying after they sent him a note Monday saying they’re hopelessly deadlocked.

U.S. District Judge William Walls dismissed the jury and directed them to return to court Tuesday to try again.

The jury had restarted deliberations Monday morning after an alternate juror had replaced one excused from the trial for vacation on Monday.

“You are starting fresh. Forget about what happened last week,” Walls told the jurors after they assembled in the courtroom. “This is the jury.”

But shortly after 2 p.m., the jury foreman sent Walls a note that said, “As of 2 p.m. on behalf of all jurors we cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges. Is there any additional guidance? What do we do now?”

Walls asked lawyers for advice on what to do.

Prosecutors said that the jury should continue to deliberate. Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell told Walls he should declare it a hung jury and “thank them for their service.”

Walls ultimately sided with the prosecution.

“I want you to cease your deliberations, go home and have a good meal and a good sleep. And I want you to come back here tomorrow to continue deliberations,” he said.

Prosecutors accuse the New Jersey Democrat of taking part of a bribery scheme with Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen, claiming Melgen gave $750,000 donations and gifts to the senator in exchange for political favors.

Both men have denied all charges, saying the gifts and vacations were part of a decades-long friendship. Melgen is a co-defendant in the trial.

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