Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said Monday that his fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was "vindicated" by a jury, despite the fact the jury was split and the judge ruled the case a mistrial.
Booker told Insider NJ that "the guy on the street" looks at Menendez and thinks he dealt with "real government overreach." Menendez treated the mistrial as vindication in the face of corruption charges, and Booker, who served as Menendez’s character witness and supported him throughout, took the same line.
"He was vindicated in a court of law by regular folks," Booker said.
The "folks" Booker referred to were the jurors who were split over whether to convict Menendez on charges of bribery and corruption. He received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from friend and co-defendant Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor in Florida, but only two of the 12 jurors agreed with prosecutors that Menendez was guilty of corruption.
"Bob Menendez, by a jury of his peers, was vindicated," Booker said. "To me this is not that complicated."
Booker went on to say voters will reward Menendez for his record of helping them.
"The average person in a diner can look at Bob Menendez’s record," Booker said, listing Menendez’s accomplishments. "His record of standing up for everyday people is incredible."
Booker accused Republican candidate Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive, of raising prices on prescription drugs and likened him to President Donald Trump on account of his business connections to Russia. He also took a shot at Republicans’ tax reform law, chiding Hugin for supporting it.
"Now you’ve got a guy who won’t even say Donald Trump’s tax plan is hurting this state," Booker said, arguing Menendez was a better choice for voters.
Menendez won his June primary by a surprisingly low margin, garnering 62 percent of the vote in a race against political unknown Lisa McCormick.
Booker also told NJ Insider he did not say the state of the country caused him to cry tears of rage, a phrase he used to describe his feelings about Trump’s rhetoric. Last week, he did say he thought something was "savagely wrong" with the country.