United States: The trial of Bob Menendez, the senator from New Jersey, for bribery, has been set back a week and now begins in mid-May after counsel agreed the extra days would be further time for preparing for the trial.

Decision by the Judge

U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein, who had changed the date for jury selection from May 6 to May 13 at a pretrial hearing in Manhattan, made the change. The senator was able to attend the hearing by telephone due to the fact that lawyers indicated a late night at the Senate on Thursday made it impossible for him to participate in Friday morning hearing, as reported by Associated Press.

Menendez and two New Jersey businessmen have pled not guilty to the charges that money, gold bars, and a luxury car they have given to Menendez and his wife since 2017 in return for whom the Democratic senator carries out political favors.

Legal Proceedings

Menendez’s wife, Nadine, who pleaded not guilty just as he did, has her trial postponed until the earliest in July due to medical issues.

Cooperation and Admissions

A third businessperson, Jose Uribe, has admitted guilt and has agreed to deliver testimony against the rest during the court trial.

Impact on Menendez

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. Credit | REUTERS

Menendez’s indictment in the criminal case this fall deprived him of this powerful function as a chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as reported by Associated Press.

In a court proceeding this week, lawyers for Menendez signaled that they may seek a verdict at the end of the trial that clears the senator of any wrongdoing by claiming that he wasn’t aware of his wife’s impermissible activities with New Jersey businessmen since she never told him of them.