Judge’s ruling in Menendez trial could alter legal landscape

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A decision is looming in the trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez that could alter the legal landscape for future corruption cases.

A judge could rule Monday on whether to dismiss part of the indictment against the New Jersey Democrat.

At issue is whether prosecutors can use what’s called the “stream of benefits” theory to prove Menendez took bribes from a wealthy friend over several years in exchange for Menendez’s influence with government officials.

Defense attorneys say a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidated the theory. They have argued prosecutors haven’t linked any alleged bribes to specific actions by Menendez.

Prosecutors say that’s not necessarily required under the law, and that a dismissal would make it easier for public officials to escape prosecution for bribery.

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