Judge rejects Senator Menéndez’s claim for legislative immunity

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By journalsofus.com

A federal judge rejected claims by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) that he has legislative immunity and therefore cannot be prosecuted on the initial four conspiracy charges against the New Jersey lawmaker.

US District Judge Sidney H. Stein in Manhattan ruled on thursday that the embattled senator cannot evade prosecution based on what he does in the legislative arena as a sitting legislator in the upper house.

Menendez claimed that he could not be prosecuted because of the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution. Stein rejected that claim.

“The Court rejects Menendez’s argument in its entirety and finds that none of the allegations contained in Indictment S2 regarding the U.S. attorneys’ scheme are protected by the Speech or Debate Clause,” Stein wrote Thursday.

Stein also dismissed the senator’s claim in the impeachment that it violates the separation of powers doctrine.

“These cases strongly support the Administration’s position that the separation of powers doctrine does not preclude the application of Section 219 against a member of Congress,” Stein wrote.

The trial has been set for May 6.

Earlier this week, Senator pleaded not guilty to a dozen new charges accusing him and his wife of obstruction of justice.

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