With 2nd trial looming, HCDO Chair Prieto backs ‘irreplaceable’ Menendez

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With U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) set to endure a second trial on corruption charges as he seeks re-election, Hudson County Democratic Organization Chairman Vincent Prieto has voiced his support for the “irreplaceable leader.” 

Prieto, Menendez

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Senator Menendez is an irreplaceable leader for our state and advocate for the values we all share, but he’s also more than that — he’s an example of the American dream in action and proof that with hard work a Hispanic kid from Union City can rise to the highest possible level,” Prieto said in a statement.

“I will continue to stand by my friend Bob Menendez as he endures the coming months and I’m certain that he will be vindicated, both by our court system and by our voters.”

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that they intend to retry Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen “at the earliest date possible.”

After a 10-week trial in Newark federal court, where 12 jurors were left to decide if Menendez unjustly used his influence to provide political favors to Melgen – a longtime friend and political donor – the end result was a mistrial.

One juror told various members of the press that 10 of the 12 jurors believed Menendez to be innocent.

Despite this fact, Menendez will have to do it all over again, likely well before his June 5, 2018 primary.

Prieto’s support comes as no surprise: he issued a similar statement shortly after Menendez was indicted in 2015 and Hudson County is arguably Menendez’s strongest base in the state.

The day after a mistrial was declared, Menendez was greeted with open arms by Prieto and other prominent North Hudson Dems at an event in West New York to promote Obamacare enrollment.

Thus far, no one has formally announced a Democratic challenge to Menendez, but during his first trial, former U.S. Senator Bob “Torch” Toricelli, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1) and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop were all rumored to be considering a run if the seat was vacated.

This promoted a now infamous quote from Menendez about “those who were digging my political grave,” a statement he did not care to elaborate on since he felt it was clear for his intended targets.

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