Christie Says Menendez Deserves ‘Presumption of Innocence’

Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, listens during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Washington on Jan. 19, 2017.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Trenton, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez "deserves a presumption of innocence" heading into his upcoming corruption trial.

Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, the Republican governor said the 63-year-old New Jersey Democrat should have an impartial trial before a jury of his peers. The former U.S. attorney says the job of the federal prosecutor is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Opening statements in the Menendez trial are scheduled for Sept. 6.

Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen are charged with multiple fraud and bribery counts. Prosecutors say Melgen donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Menendez's political campaign and legal defense fund, and paid for expensive trips for the senator in exchange for help with business disputes.

Both men have denied there was any bribery arrangement.

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