Key Dates In The Bribery Case Against Sen. Bob Menendez

Key dates in the bribery investigation and trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat:

— November 2012: After a story appears on a conservative website, federal authorizes investigate rumors that Menendez and Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen consorted with prostitutes at Melgen’s home in the Dominican Republic. Three women later recant and say they were paid to make the false claims. Menendez wins re-election to the Senate and is named chair of the Foreign Relations Committee.

— January 2013: As the probe widens to examine the relationship between Menendez and Melgen, and as FBI agents are seen searching Melgen’s West Palm Beach office, Menendez announces he has reimbursed Melgen more than $58,000 for flights on Melgen’s private jet.

— April 2015: Menendez and Melgen are named in a 22-count indictment charging them with bribery, fraud and conspiracy. Menendez also is charged with making false statements by omitting gifts from Melgen on Senate ethics forms.

— January 2016: Menendez argues to have the indictment thrown out in filings to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, writing that his meetings with government officials allegedly to advance Melgen’s business interests were protected by the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause. In July, the court rejects his appeal.

— December 2016: Menendez’s attorneys file to have the Supreme Court hear his appeal. In March 2017, the court declines to take up the case.

— April 2017: In a separate case, Melgen is convicted of multiple counts of Medicare fraud in Florida and faces a potential prison term of 30 years or more.

— July: Menendez seeks to have the charges thrown out based on a 2016 Supreme Court decision that overturned the bribery conviction of Republican former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

— Sept. 6: The trial of Melgen and Menendez begins in Newark, New Jersey. Prosecutor Peter Koski tells jurors in his opening statement that Menendez “sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford.” Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell counters that “acting out of friendship is not a crime” and that Menendez’s meetings with government officials were “what members of Congress do.”

— Sept. 12: Two of Melgen’s alleged foreign girlfriends testify about Menendez’s role in their U.S. visa applications, part of the government’s charge that he interceded on their behalf in exchange for Melgen’s bribes. Rosiell Polanco-Suera testifies she was denied initially but then approved after Menendez interceded; Svitlana Buchyk turns her testimony into a sideshow with a combative performance, saying she was in court only “because he forced me to,” pointing at one of the prosecutors.

—Oct. 3: Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies that Melgen’s name wasn’t mentioned during a meeting with Menendez about Medicare policy, but that she assumed the doctor’s $8.9 million billing dispute, then under appeal, was the underlying reason. She says it was the only time she could remember being asked to discuss “a practice that involved a Medicare or Medicaid billing issue.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez waves at reporters before entering the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Jury deliberations continued on Thursday morning. Photo: AP Photo/Julio Cortez.

— Oct. 16: After the prosecution rests its case, U.S. District Judge William Walls denies Menendez’s July motion to throw out the charges based on the 2016 Supreme Court decision.

—Oct. 24: A former State Department official testifies Menendez pushed him to resolve a dispute over a port security in the Dominican Republic involving a company owned by Melgen, but says Menendez also was interested in overall port security issues. William Brownfield also disputes earlier testimony that Menendez “threatened” him by saying he’d hold a Senate hearing if Brownfield didn’t resolve the issue.

— Oct. 26, 2017: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, testify on behalf of Menendez, calling him honest and trustworthy. Their testimony lasts a combined 10 minutes.

— Nov. 6, 2017: Jurors begin deliberations.

— Nov. 9, 2017: Juror Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, excused during deliberations for a previously scheduled vacation, tells reporters outside the courthouse that she would have voted for acquittal on all counts but predicts a hung jury.

— Nov. 13, 2017: Three hours after the jury restarts deliberations with a new juror, the panel tells Walls they can’t reach a unanimous verdict on any of the counts. He instructs them to resume, and the next morning tells them, “Take as much time as you need. This is not reality TV, this is real life.”

— Nov. 16, 2017: Mistrial is declared as the jury says it is hopelessly deadlocked on all charges.