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US Supreme Court won't throw out Sen. Menendez charges

20 March 2017, 11:53 | Darin Griffith

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a blow to U.S. Sen. Bob MenendezRobert MenendezSteve Mnuchin, foreclosure king, now runs your US Treasury Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-N.J.), who was indicted on federal bribery charges in 2015.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from New Jersey Sen.

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Menendez appealed his case to a Philadelphia court, arguing that part of the Constitution prevents the judiciary from questioning his activity as a legislator.

Menendez, who is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for political influence, claims his meetings with government officials were to discuss policy and not for the objective of garnering gifts and monetary contributions.

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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.

Lowell said the senator maintains his innocence. Menendez and Melgen have pleaded not guilty to the charges they faced in the 22-count indictment.

In its ruling a year ago, the appellate court said the question of whether Menendez deserved constitutional immunity turned on whether five specific actions were "inherently legislative", as the senator claimed. "It was not to engage in true legislative oversight or otherwise influence broad matters of policy".

"It's disappointing that the Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to set a clear, bright line of the separation of powers to ensure that Congress remains an independent and co-equal branch of government, free of interference and retribution from the executive as the Framers intended", said Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for the Democratic senator. Stevens was killed in a 2010 plane crash.



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