Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 32 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/4/15

NJ Senator Robert Menendez: An Attractive Target for Federal Prosecutors

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Barry Sussman

From,_official_Senate_photo.jpg: U.S. Senator Robert MenendezOn April 1, 2015, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D) of New Jersey was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Newark, NJ on 14 counts, including conspiracy to commit bribery, honest-services fraud and the making of false statements.

The essence of the charges against Menendez alleges that he used his influence as a senator for the benefit of a long-time friend and campaign contributor. This allegation appears to beg the question of exactly why people donate to and befriend politicians in the first place. One could argue that the failure to assist a friend and contributor might better constitute the basis for criminal charges. Similarly, one must wonder who would govern if every elected official were imprisoned for exerting influence on behalf of friends and contributors. Perhaps the feds really have the goods on Menendez, but the initial description of his alleged misdeeds sounds a lot like run-of- the-mill politics.

But these kinds of fluid, vague and amorphous allegations are perfectly suited for U.S. federal courts, where criminality is basically whatever the prosecutor deems to be illegal. Prosecutions like Mendez's bolster the view that federal prosecutors do not investigate crimes, they investigate people. Begin with an intended target, put them under the proverbial microscope and examine until something fits within the parameters of the growing and expansive federal Criminal Code. With many federal "offenses" being little more than catchalls, it is usually only a matter of time before a federal prosecutor can twist some pattern of behavior into the basis for a federal criminal indictment.

Menendez has denied any wrongdoing and like so many other federal defendants, likely has committed no intentional crime, at least in his mind"and now finds himself entombed within a federal criminal matter in which the full force of the United States government will be mercilessly pitted against the accused.

These decided mismatches have given way to a criminal conviction rate of 99.5% in U.S. federal courts. It is more akin to what one would expect in a banana republic or Third World dictatorship. The feds are loath to admit the near statistical certainty of a conviction in a U.S. federal court and as a result, trials there are becoming increasingly scarce with approximately 97% opting to waive trial and enter a plea of guilty. The 99.5% figure is, on its face, patently illegitimate and highly indicative of exactly awaits Menendez.

Yet Menendez came out swinging immediately after the indictment was announced. "I'm outraged that prosecutors at the Justice Department were tricked into starting this investigation three years ago with false allegations by those who have a political motive to silence me," Menendez said, during a press conference at a local hotel. "But I will not be silenced."

"At the end of the day I will be vindicated, and they will be exposed," he added.

Menendez further explained that "Prosecutors at the Justice Department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption. Rather, they have chosen to twist my duties as a senator, and my friendship, into something that is improper. They are dead wrong."

He continued, "I am angry because prosecutors at the Justice Department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Well Said 4   Valuable 4   Must Read 3  
Rate It | View Ratings

Barry Sussman Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Barry Scott Sussman- Born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Sociology. Graduated with a JD from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law specializing in Federal Criminal Procedure and Federal Prosecutorial (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

How Many Convicted Felons are there in the U.S? It's a Mystery

Recent Cases Highlight Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct

The Sociopathy of Chris Christie

Edward Snowden's Unmasking of American Illegitimacy

The Cult of Cop Worship

Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Receives Multiple Life Sentences

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend