Judge Denies Menendez’s Legal Team Trial Delay Request

Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) legal team was recently dealt a blow by a federal judge who denied its request to delay the New Jersey senator’s corruption trial by two months.

Menendez’s attorneys sought the delay, calling the charges against the New Jersey lawmaker “unprecedented,” adding that it was forced to look through millions of documents from discovery. Still, federal prosecutors said the delay was “unwarranted,” considering that when the trial date was initially announced in October 2023, the senator’s legal team was unopposed to it.

On Dec. 28, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein ruled that an extension for the corruption trial was unnecessary.

“The fact that discovery has been voluminous is consistent with the parties’ stated expectations on October 2 and does not justify a two month adjournment of the schedule,” Stein ruled. “In fact, the volume of discovery material is less than defendants were concerned it was when they sought the [two month delay] on December 20.”

Menendez’s legal team previously said that it received 735 terabytes of discovery documents when it had, in fact, only received three terabytes. Stein said the attorneys were misled by an “inadvertent error made by a discovery vendor.”

On Dec. 20, 2023, the New Jersey senator’s attorneys submitted a filing, saying they had received “over 6.7 million documents (over 15 million pages)” from the government in discovery. Such a whopping figure amounted to 735 terabytes, according to the legal team.

“While three terabytes is concededly a substantial amount of data, it is but a tiny fraction of what defendants believed they had on their plates to digest and is consistent with the expectations voiced at the initial pretrial conference that discovery would be voluminous,” Stein wrote in her ruling.

Menendez currently faces criminal charges stemming from his alleged use of his position in Congress to benefit wealthy businessmen and the Egyptian government in exchange for gold bars, luxury vehicles and money.

The New Jersey lawmaker is also accused of having acted as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt during his tenure as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menedez, alongside his wife and three businessmen, is facing such charges. The New Jersey congressman has pleaded not guilty in the matter and has maintained his innocence.