Justice fell like a hammer on a nail head as a federal judge denied Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) request for sanctioned breaks during his upcoming corruption trial. Menendez claimed he deserved “special treatment” due to his duty to appear in the Swamp for critical votes.
It appears that U.S. District Judge William Walls of Newark, did not find the senator to be special in any way:
Walls said he suspected the request was part of a strategy to “impress the jurors” with Menendez’s importance, but that it was speculative to suggest the senator would miss key votes.
“The court will not serve as concierge to any party or lawyer,” Walls wrote. “The motion – from a practical perspective – is nigh frivolous.”
Attempting to persuade a federal judge that business is getting done on the Hill is also nigh frivolous, as gridlock is the new norm.
The back-story commenced with the last administration and a wealthy ophthalmologist in Florida, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Melgen is also a major financial backer of Menendez. But the good doctor found himself under investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2011 for Medicare fraud, to the tune of $8.9 million, and sent a distress call to his pal, Menendez.
Menendez responded with a vigorous lobbying effort that went nowhere (but it did expose him to scrutiny), and in desperation, he turned to then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for additional firepower:
Although news outlets such as Breitbart News had reported on Reid’s role, this week’s trial brief filing is the first time that the Justice Department highlighted to the court the fact that the former Democratic majority leader in the Senate worked in 2011 to “amplify the pressure” on HHS to reverse course.
Corruption on a Grand Scale
Unfortunately for Menendez, the blatant attempt to make Melgen’s troubles with HHS disappear, had inquiring minds delving deep into their cozy relationship, only to find corruption on a grand scale. Here is one incident noted by the Department of Justice:
Revealing previously unknown facts, the Justice Department continued, “The truth is that Menendez and his personal guests had enjoyed more than a dozen flights on Melgen’s private jet, dating back at least as far as 2006—not a single one of which Menendez had paid for or reported on his annual financial disclosure forms.”
That alone violates the Ethics in Government Act. And such a sorry tale that is becoming all too familiar in the American political script; abuse of power on a grand scale by one elected to represent the people.
But the timing of this story is inciting a tongue wagging of epic proportions with both Democrats and Republicans.
The Chris Christie Option
The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, and if Senator Menendez is found guilty, the balance of power in the Senate may shift positively for the Trump administration. A guilty verdict will force Menendez out, and the governor of New Jersey, the one, and only Chris Christie, will appoint his replacement. A thinking person would assume Christie would choose a Trump supporter or at least a conservative, and this has the Democrats squirming in their lawn chairs during their summer break.
Oh, those dark and twisting turns of our current political system may force Americans into abusing Dramamine before they tune into the evening news, or fire up their tablets for a good old fashioned social media tirade. Buckle up, my friends. Buckle up.