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New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, speaking outside the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton before the inauguration of Gov. Phil Murphy. New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, speaking outside the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton before the inauguration of Gov. Phil Murphy.

The U.S. Department of Justice, preparing for a retrial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, said in a court filing that defense lawyers invited jurors to nullify the law by injecting race and partisan politics into the proceedings.

Steps should be taken to prevent a repeat during the second trial, prosecutors said in a motion to U.S. District Judge William Walls on Jan. 19. The motion also said jurors in the first trial were forced to negotiate a “gauntlet” of relatives, supporters and attorneys for Menendez and Melgen when arriving at the courtroom and asked for “safeguards” to be implemented to prevent such contact. In addition, prosecutors took issue with Menendez’s periodic prayer circles with clergy during the trial and his singing of hymns such as “Amazing Grace” in hallways and elevators at the courthouse.

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Charles Toutant

Charles Toutant is a litigation writer for the New Jersey Law Journal.

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