The 11-week trial of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) ended Thursday when Judge William Walls declared a mistrial after the jury said they could not come to a verdict. Prosecutors have not said whether they would re-file charges that were the result of a five-year investigation.
Menendez was charged with conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud in his duties as U.S. Senator, and for accepting more than $600,000 in political contributions and gifts from a long time friend Dr. Salomon Melgen. Prosecutors attempted to prove Menendez took these things in exchange for political favors to Melgen, who was convicted of unrelated charges earlier this year.
This decision by the judge to declare a mistrial also came after a juror was excused, and she talked to the press about some of the discussions going in the jury deliberations.
In comments after the trial, Menendez thanked his supporters and condemned the system of justice he believed was abusive.
“The way this case started was wrong,” he said. “The way it was investigated was wrong. The way it was prosecuted was wrong. And the way it was tried was wrong as well. Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up to be a United States senator and be honest.” Menendez said, “I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have come to tell me that the FBI went to them and asked them ‘What can you give us on Menendez?’ That is not what the FBI and the Department of Justice is supposed to be doing. They were not supposed to be leaking to the press in the early stages of their investigation. It violated my rights to a fair process.”
Menendez went on to say: “I’ve made my share of mistakes, but my mistakes were never a crime. I’ve learned through this process a lot about our system of justice. It is truly a system of justice you can afford. I understand why so many Americans feel that justice is elusive. I’ve also learned about the incredible weight and power of the federal government and how it can crush you, if it wants to. It gives me an even greater resolve to make sure that there is a check to that awesome power.”
In a statement, local Rep. Albio Sires continued to support Menendez.
“Today’s outcome by the jury shows that after 11 weeks they could not come to a unanimous decision. Bob and I have worked together for the better part of our careers whether it was as mayor’s, members of the New Jersey Assembly, and now in Washington to improve the lives of all New Jerseyans. It’s clear that he has never stopped fighting for our state.”
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise also issued a statement.
“I knew my friend Bob Menendez would prevail because after working with him for nearly two decades, I know who he is as a person, and what he stands for as a public servant, that is above all, fighting for the voiceless in this country,” said DeGise. “With so much left to be done, with so many vulnerable people under threat from a GOP-run Washington, I am very happy to know that Bob Menendez will be able to get back into that fight full time now. And I look forward to supporting him next year when he seeks re-election to continue this vital work.”
Northwest Resiliency Park meeting Nov. 30
Residents are invited to complete an online survey for the Northwest Resiliency Park at www.hobokennj.gov/nwparksurvey in advance of a stakeholders meeting to work with the community on design concepts for the park, on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wallace School cafeteria, at 1100 Willow Ave.
Hoboken’s largest park will provide recreation and public space and will also be a fundamental part of the city’s resiliency strategy, integrating green infrastructure and innovative stormwater management measures to mitigate flooding from rainfall events.
The city opened a temporary pop-up park at the site this year, which will remain in place during the design process for the permanent park.
The park is located between Adams Street, Madison Street, Twelfth Street and Thirteenth Street.
On Sunday, Nov. 26 at 4 p.m., the Hoboken Historical Museum will host a celebration for their latest oral history chapbook, “Palumbo’s Tavern.”
Ann Palumbo Monaco recalls her grandparents’ Monroe Street tavern, where neighbors gathered to relax, gossip, celebrate, and to enjoy Anna Palumbo’s fabulous “pasta fazool.” The event is free and all attendees can receive a copy.
Palumbo’s Tavern is the latest in the museum’s published oral history series, “Vanishing Hoboken.” To see the whole series, visit https://www.hobokenmuseum.org/explore-hoboken/oral-history-project/.
On Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m., the museum will host the latest edition of the Black Maria Film Festival Award-Winners series, “A Bastard Child.” The one-hour documentary uses hand-illustrated images to tell the story of the filmmaker’s grandmother, an orphan in Sweden in the early 1900s. Admission is just $5, no registration necessary.
On Friday, Dec. 1, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Education Curator Maria Lara hosts the third and final “Kids Night at the Museum” of the year. Kids’ Night is a chance for kids ages 5 and up to leave their parents at home and have their own night of fun. Kids can spend the evening at the Hoboken Historical Museum and enjoy games, arts and crafts, a scavenger hunt, pizza and popcorn, and a movie — this time, Gene Wilder’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” The cost is $25 per child, $20 for members’ children.
To register go to https://tinyurl.com/ycqapmog .
Local lawyer acknowledged for pro-bono work
Hoboken Resident Susan Ross was awarded the 2017 Cornerstone Award last week by the Lawyers Alliance For New York for outstanding pro bono legal services to nonprofits.
Ross is senior counsel at Norton Rose Fullbright US LLP began volunteering with Lawyers alliance in 1992.
Recently she has helped non-profits Caring Community, a senior serving organization in Manhattan, and JustTell.org, which raises awareness about and seeks to address childhood sexual abuse, when they created website privacy policies.
Ross additionally assisted Dress for Success Worldwide with its launch of a database accessible to its affiliates and Ross also worked with the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP) on a contract review and negotiation for the purchase and implementation of a new case management system and a separate contract for an IT consultant to manage the project.
“I’ve been working with Lawyers Alliance on pro bono matters for many years, not only helping organizations on technology and privacy transactional matters, but also expanding my own skillset by working with others in areas or on transactions that I wouldn’t normally see,” said Ross in a press release from the Lawyers Alliance. “I look forward to seeing the new ways that Lawyers Alliance will enable attorneys to help give back to the New York community.”
The Hudson School presents ‘The House of Blue Leaves’
“The House of Blue Leaves” by John Guare will be presented at The Hudson School Performance Space at 601 Park Ave on Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 1 to Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. as well as Sunday Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.
“The House of Blue Leaves” won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play in 1971 and the 1971 Obie Award, Best American Play; it won four Tony Awards for its 1986 revival at Lincoln Center Theater
The play is set in Queens, N.Y. in 1965 on the day Pope Paul VI visited New York City. The dark comedy focuses on Artie Shaughnessy, a zookeeper who dreams of making it big in Hollywood as a songwriter. Artie wants to take his girlfriend Bunny with him to Hollywood despite the fact he is married to Bananas, a schizophrenic. Their son Ronnie is a soldier headed for Vietnam who goes AWOL from Fort Dix, bringing with him a homemade bomb intended to blow up the Pope in Yankee Stadium.
Tickets are $15 for students and $10 for seniors. For reservations, contact Adam Sentoni at email@example.com
Mile Square Theatre will perform ‘39 Steps’
Mile Square Theatre closes its 2017 season with “The 39 Steps,” a rowdy send up of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller. Patrick Barlow’s adaptation is a fast-paced comic romp that turns the classic Hitchcock masterpiece into an evening of pure comic joy for audiences of all ages.
“We are so excited to produce “The 39 Steps” this holiday season,” said MST Artistic Director Chris O’Connor. “We wanted to present a show that would delight everybody, and this show fits the bill. It’s no exaggeration that our director, Mark Shanahan, is probably the best person in America to direct it, too. He was in it on Broadway, and has directed many regional theatre productions.”
“The 39 Steps” begins performances on Nov. 30 and runs until Dec. 23 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
The cast includes Joe Delafield (Tartuffe on Broadway), Helen Hayes, Award Winner Zachary Fine, Evan Zes (Signature Theatre’s Incident at Vichy), and Hoboken’s Alycia Kunkle.
Tickets range from $30 to $40 and and students and seniors can get discounted tickets at $18.
The theater is located at 1400 Clinton St.
For more information on Mile Square Theatre, please visit www.milesquaretheatre.org.
Theatre Ensemble presents show for children
The Hudson Theatre Ensemble’s Silly on Sixth Children’s Series presents “Sing Me A Story with Sue!” at the Hudson School Performance Space, 601 Park Ave., Hoboken, on
Sunday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The show runs about 40 minutes and is suitable for children aged 2 to 10. All tickets are $10.
For reservations, call (201) 377-7014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if your child has a November birthday, incorporate Silly on Sixth into your birthday plans. The entire audience will sing Happy Birthday to your child, the kids meet the actors after the show, and you can take photos of your child with the actors. Call Florence for details at (201) 377-7014.