Jury set to hear closing arguments in Menendez bribery trial

MGN Online

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The jury in the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is set to hear closing arguments on Thursday.
The New Jersey Democrat is charged with accepting gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen (MEHL'-genn) in exchange for using his political influence.
Prosecutors have sought to show that Melgen lavished Menendez with flights on his private jet and luxury vacations so Menendez would help him with issues including a $9 million Medicare reimbursement dispute.
Defense attorneys contend Menendez and Melgen were longtime friends who weren't involved in bribery and that Menendez was focused on policy issues when he met with executive branch officials.
If Menendez is convicted and steps down, outgoing Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could appoint a replacement, which would alter the makeup of the Senate.