Booker Predicts 'Some Serious Appeals' if Menendez Convicted

Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) / Getty
September 7, 2017

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (D.) predicted Thursday there would be "some serious appeals" if Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) is found guilty in his federal corruption trial.

Menendez stands accused of what prosecutors call a "corrupt pact" with a wealthy Florida doctor; the senator is charged with using his office to benefit his friend in exchange for lavish trips and other gifts.

The case has stirred debate about the blurred lines regarding politicians' friendships, and Booker suggested in an interview with HuffPost that Menendez would have an out if convicted.

"He's innocent until proven guilty. So he is an innocent man," Booker said. "If he's proven guilty, I think there's going to be some serious appeals because I think there are some fundamental constitutional questions that I've never seen in a case like this."

Booker showed up Wednesday for the first day of Menendez's trial, offering his fellow New Jersey Democrat a hug before sitting in the front row.

Menendez has denied the charges of the widespread bribery scheme, emotionally telling reporters before entering court Wednesday he had never dishonored his office and expected to be vindicated.

Senate Democrats have largely been silent on whether Menendez should resign if he is found guilty.

A conviction and subsequent resignation would carry profound political implications. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a Republican and an ally of President Donald Trump, and he would likely appoint a GOP replacement friendly to the Trump agenda.