Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) escaped the possibility of being convicted on federal corruption charges on Thursday when a judge declared a mistrial in his case due to a hung jury, but that did not stop Menendez from immediately suggesting that he was targeted because Americans are racist.
Menendez, 63, appeared outside the courthouse shortly after U.S. District Court Judge William Walls — a Clinton-era federal judge — declared the mistrial. Menendez gave a statement to the media where he suggested that he was the victim of a racist investigation led by the FBI and the people of his state.
“Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest,” Menendez said.
Menendez later appeared to make a veiled threat against political opponents that he faced during the trial.
The investigation into Menendez stemmed from his close connection to Florida physician Salomon Melgen, whom investigators believed bribed the Democratic New Jersey senator. A federal jury in Florida convicted Melgen in April of 67 charges for operating what prosecutors called a massive scheme that robbed Medicare out of as much as $105 million,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
Prosecutors began investigating Menendez when they were tipped off in 2012 that Menendez was having sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.