It looks like Christmas is coming early for Senator Bob Menendez. Today the jury in his bribery trial told the judge they were deadlocked on all counts. From NJ.com:
U.S. District Judge William Walls sent them home early and told them to try again on Tuesday.
“Go home and have a good meal and have a good sleep,” Walls told the jury.
The jury foreman sent the judge a note around 2 p.m. saying the group could not reach a verdict on any of the counts.
“Is there any additional guidance and what do we do now?” the foreman asked the judge in his note.
There is reason to think the divide among jurors is not going to be resolved tomorrow. Last week a juror named Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby was dismissed because she had a previously scheduled vacation to the Bahamas coming up. In an interview after her dismissal, she told NJ.com that at the start of deliberations last week nine of the jurors, including herself, believed Menendez was innocent:
The juror dismissed from Sen. Robert Menendez’s bribery case said they began deliberations on Monday with nine of them — including herself — prepared to find him not guilty of the most serious charges. By Thursday, they were still deadlocked, she said…
Arroyo-Maultsby described a tense, sometimes combative, atmosphere in the jury room. The disorganized deliberations at moments broke down, with jurors speaking over each other, and at least once using foul language, she said. Some of the jurors were dismissive of her opinion because they knew she would not be able to continue deliberations after Thursday, she said.
Here’s video of Arroyo-Maultsby describing Menendez as a good man who is being thrown under the bus:
Aware that things are going his way, Menedez spoke outside the courthouse today thanking the jurors who believe in his innocence and encouraging them to stand strong tomorrow. The only question remaining is how many more days the judge will demand jurors deliberate before he throws in the towel and declares a mistrial.