DOJ Drops Remaining Charges Against Kobre & Kim Client Salomon Melgen Following Hung Jury and Partial Acquittal
January 31, 2018
Our government enforcement defense team has secured a major victory on behalf of our client Dr. Salomon Melgen, Senator Bob Menendez’s co-defendant in the highly publicized 10-week corruption trial pursued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
On November 16, 2017, Judge William H. Walls declared a mistrial in the first trial of a sitting U.S. senator in nearly four decades, following a juror deadlock on 18 conspiracy and bribery charges. According to press reports, 10 of 12 jurors favored outright acquittal.
The DOJ indicted Dr. Melgen and Senator Menendez in early 2015 for conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud, alleging that Dr. Melgen gave Senator Menendez gifts and political contributions in exchange for the Senator’s using his office’s power to benefit Dr. Melgen’s personal and financial interests. The alleged conspiracy, which involved flights on Dr. Melgen’s private plane, stays at his Dominican Republic vacation home and US $600,000+ in political contributions, purportedly ran from January 2006 through January 2013.
Central to the defense was the theme of friendship; Dr. Melgen and Senator Menendez have been close friends for years and this, as opposed to a criminal conspiracy, motivated any exchange of gifts or contributions between the two.
Following the mistrial, the DOJ announced it would look to retry the case at the earliest possible trial date. However, after the announcement, the court rendered a decision on a motion we had made during the first trial acquitting Dr. Melgen and Senator Menendez on seven of the 18 charges against them. One week later, with its case debilitated, the DOJ decided to dismiss with prejudice all remaining charges, ending the case and resulting in a resounding victory for Kobre & Kim’s government enforcement defense team.