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Judge Denies N.J. Democrat’s Request to Skip His Corruption Trial

Sen. Bob Menendez will not be able to cast votes in the Senate during his corruption trial, set to being September 6.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is expected in court this September to face corruption charges, and a judge’s ruling just ensured he can’t skip attending the trial.

Menendez is facing charges alongside his co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen, with whom Menendez is accused of having an illegal financial relationship.

Mr. Menendez is charged with receiving luxury hotel rooms, flights on Mr. Melgen’s private jet and donations to a Democratic super PAC in exchange for political advocacy, lobbying and favors, such as intervening to help obtain visas for Mr. Melgen’s college-age girlfriends from Brazil, Ukraine and the Dominican Republic.

Mr. Menendez is also accused of lobbying the Obama administration to change the Medicare reimbursement policy, which would have brought a financial windfall for Mr. Melgen.

Because Menendez is a member of the United States Senate, his legal team requested one of three options in order to allow Menendez to stand trial while simultaneously fulfilling his senatorial duties:

They made three requests: delay the start of the trial until after the fall congressional session; agree to postpone the trial on days when a key vote would be taking place; or have the judge formally explain to the jury that the senator could not be in court because he was in Washington.

Judge William H. Walls denied all three requests, forcing Menendez to miss critical Senate votes when the deliberative body begins its fall session next month.

If Menendez is found guilty and removed from the Senate before January 17, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, would appoint his replacement.