Judge William Walls, who presides over the federal corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez, sent the jury home at 3:30 on Tuesday and said come to back Wednesday morning.
The defense is pushing the judge to declare a hung jury and a mistrial. Walls said the current jury, with one new member, has only been meeting since Monday. The original jurors have been deliberating since a week ago Monday.
After the jurors left, a member of the Menendez legal team, Raymond Brown, complained to the judge, “Nowhere did you instruct the jury that a hung jury is a legitimate result.”
One of co-defendant Salomon Melgen’s lawyers, Murad Hussain, read to the judge from a law book, “A just verdict can be no verdict if it’s the product of conscientious deliberation.”
The judge disagreed. “Find me a case where a judge says a hung jury could be appropriate,” said Walls.
For its part, the government argued that the judge should allow for partial verdicts, hung on some counts, guilty on others. Walls seemed to dismiss that idea.
Brown’s late father was a famous New Jersey attorney. When Brown, the younger, said he’ll produce a case by Wednesday of a judge endorsing a hung jury, Judge Walls replied, “There’s an old Walls expression that your father taught me: ‘Put up or shut up.'”
After Tuesday’s session, Menendez told the media he continues to stand up for New Jersey.
“It is that same sense of standing up that I appreciate the jurors, who have been standing up for my innocence during the course of the jury deliberations, standing up for me as I have stood up for New Jerseyans,” Menendez said.
Jurors are due back at the courthouse at 9:30 Wednesday morning.