Sen. Menendez rebuffed by top court on corruption charges

Supreme Court on Monday refused to throw out bribery and corruption charges against New Jersey Sen.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, clearing the way for a federal trial this fall for the Democrat.

"Menendez (D-N.J.) who is up for re-election next year, is accused of intervening with federal agencies on behalf a friend and campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in exchange for gifts and contributions".

While Menendez understood that it's rare for the Supreme Court to hear a case before trial, "given the gravity of the Constitutional issues raised, he believed it was important to try", Lowell said.

Menendez argues that as a United States senator, the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives him absolute immunity for all conduct falling within "the sphere of legitimate legislative activity".

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When that appeal was denied, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, which denied without comment to dismiss the charges against Menendez this week.

"As the Senator has been saying for more than four years since the government began chasing these wild allegations, he has always acted in accordance with the law", Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Menendez, said in response to the ruling.

The indictment alleges Menendez used his official influence to set up meetings with government officials aimed at helping Melgen in a Medicare dispute and with a business interest involving port security in the Dominican Republic. Menendez and Melgen have pleaded not guilty to the charges they faced in the 22-count indictment.

Menendez's trial is scheduled to begin on September 6.

Melgen's trial for Medicare fraud is now underway in Palm Beach County. Stevens was killed in a 2010 plane crash.

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