Judge rejects Sen. Menendez's legislative immunity claim

menendez1 court ap 092723

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

U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein in Manhattan ruled Thursday that the embattled senator cannot evade prosecution based on what he does in the legislative realm as a sitting lawmaker in the upper chamber. 

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

“The Court rejects Menendez’s argument in full, finding that none of the allegations in the S2 Indictment regarding the U.S. Attorney Scheme are protected by the Speech or Debate Clause,” Stein wrote on Thursday. 

Stein also shut down the senator’s claim in the indictment that it violates the separation of power doctrine. 

“These cases strongly support the Government’s position that enforcement of Section 219 against a Member of Congress is not barred by the separation of powers doctrine,” Stein wrote. 

The trial has been set for May 6. 

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

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