Sen. Bob Menendez, Wife To Have Separate Cases Due To Her Health Issues

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., center, leads lawmakers in drafting legislation that would show support for the people of Ukraine and send a get-tough message to Russian President Vladimir Putin for taking over the Crimea region, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Before a planned meeting with acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, Menendez said Putin has miscalculated by playing a game of Russian roulette with the international community. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A federal judge in New Jersey decided Thursday that Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez will face bribery charges in two separate trials; Nadine Menendez’s trial will be delayed while she undergoes surgery to treat a medical condition.

Sen. Menendez’s trial will begin May 6, as originally scheduled, and Nadine Menendez’s trial is tentatively set to begin July 8.

“This trial is going forward without Mrs. Menendez,” said District Judge Sidney Stein, according to the Associated Press. “The government is going to have to try this case two times.”

Nadine Menendez’s attorneys said in a letter to District Judge Sidney Stein earlier this week that she is suffering from a “serious medical condition that will require a surgical procedure in the next four to six weeks as well as possibly significant follow-up and recovery treatment.”

In a court filing, the government said it didn’t object to the request and suggested the trial take place in July or August instead.

But prosecutors had argued against splitting the case right now because Nadine Menendez faces charges “in all of the counts Robert Menendez is charged with,” except one. Trying the case twice, they said, would result in inefficiencies, requiring them to “present the same or substantially the same case, in full, a second time.” That would mean, they noted, picking a second jury, recalling “dozens of witnesses,” many of whom do not live in New York, and conducting “a virtually identical trial” that presents a “risk of unfairness or inconsistency.”

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