The federal judge overseeing the bribery trial of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) told the jury on Monday to continue deliberating after the jurors said they are deadlocked on whether to convict the senator.
The jury sent a note to U.S. District Judge William Walls on Monday afternoon after deliberating for two hours, claiming its members are unable to reach a unanimous decision, the Washington Post reported.
"As of 2 p.m., on behalf of all the jurors, we cannot reach a unanimous decision on any of the charges," the jury wrote in its note to Walls. "Is there any additional guidance? And what do we do now?"
In response, Walls told the jurors to go home, take the rest of the day off, and come back Tuesday ready to deliberate more.
"I want you to cease your deliberations, go home and have a good meal and a good sleep. And I want you to come back here tomorrow to continue deliberations," Walls said, according to Politico.
One female juror was excused last week because of a prearranged vacation. The excused juror subsequently spoke to the press and said she believes the panel will end in a hung jury.
Defense attorneys argued Monday that the excused juror's comments could be a breach of protocol. Walls said the comments have had no effect on the jury and told the attorneys, "She was on your side."
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Menendez, said 11 of the 12 jurors have been deliberating for several days and asked that Walls declare a mistrial.
Menendez is accused of accepting bribes from co-defendant Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor, in exchange for personal favors as part of a corruption scheme, including helping Melgen with a Medicare billing dispute.
If the jury is unable to reach a verdict, Walls could declare a mistrial. The prosecutors at that time would choose whether to retry the case.