New Twist in Menendez trial: Will Judge Toss Case Before It Goes to the Jury?


Zephyr Teachout was quoted in a CNN story regarding the Sen. Bob Menendez corruption trial.

The challenge for prosecutors is that the Supreme Court in McDonnell narrowed the types of “official acts” that can form the basis of the crime.

The justices said that merely “setting up a meeting, hosting an event, or calling an official” is no longer sufficient — the politician must put his or her thumb on the scale in an ongoing proceeding, lawsuit or controversy, or “exert pressure” on someone else to do so.

“You need evidence from which a jury could reasonably infer that (Menendez) was seeking an official act,” said Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout, a former Democratic congressional candidate who teaches classes on corruption laws.

“That does not mean that you need anybody in particular to say ‘I knew that he was seeking x or y official act’ — it can include circumstantial evidence,” she added.


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