A corruption indictment handed up last year against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez should be dismissed because it misapplies a federal law that shields lawmakers from scrutiny of their official duties and motives, according to a brief filed by Menendez’s attorneys seeking to have the Supreme Court throw out the case.
The longtime Democratic lawmaker was charged with fraud and bribery last year after prosecutors said he took official action on behalf of a longtime friend who had given him gifts and campaign donations.
Lawyers for Menendez contend his meetings with various government officials were legislative acts meant to discuss policy matters.
The filing argues that a lower court was mistaken when it allowed the indictment to go forward because it relies on assumptions about Menendez’s motives, scrutiny it says previous Supreme Court decisions ban.
The Supreme Court likely won’t decide whether to hear the case until late February or March. A trial is tentatively scheduled for next fall. Menendez and Salomon Melgen have pleaded not guilty.