The mistrial declared Thursday in the case against Sen. Bob Menendez sends an alarming message: that it’s virtually impossible to send a corrupt politician to jail.
That will just embolden crooked pols — and further erode public confidence in America’s political system.
Think about it: If prosecutors couldn’t win a guilty verdict against the New Jersey senator, just who could they win one against?
Both sides in the Menendez case agreed on the facts: That he took extensive gifts, including free vacations at lavish resorts and $750,000 in campaign donations, from Solomon Melgen, a wealthy eye doctor.
And that he interceded on Melgen’s behalf in a multimillion-dollar Medicare billing dispute, as well as a security contract with the Dominican Republic. He also arranged visas for several of the doctor’s young female “friends.”
But the senator denied there was any quid pro quo, claiming Melgen’s gifts were based on their 25-year friendship and that he only provided the kind of constituent service he’d give to anyone.