Judge Rules Menendez Trial to Stay In New Jersey

NEWARK (AP) -

A federal judge on Tuesday refused to move Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption case from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., rejecting defense attorneys’ arguments that the majority of the alleged crimes took place in the nation’s capital and that a trial in New Jersey would hamper Menendez’s ability to perform his duties in the Senate.

“The court sees no ‘prime nerve center’” of the case in Washington, but instead in New Jersey, the Dominican Republic, France and Washington, U.S. District Judge William Walls said after hearing from both sides.

Menendez, a congressman for more than 20 years and a member of the Senate since 2006, is charged in a 22-count indictment with accepting gifts and donations totaling about $1 million from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors. Menendez has said he accepted gifts from Melgen because the two have been close friends for years.