***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez: ‘I Have Served with Honesty, Integrity & Given it My All Everyday’

***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez: ‘I Have Served with Honesty, Integrity & Given it My All Everyday’

   

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today addressed reporters outside of Newark Federal Court following the jury’s rejection of the government’s charges against him.  He thanked the New Jersey jurors who believed in his innocence for their public service and sacrifice, his family and countless supporters for standing by him.

 

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The full transcript of the senator’s remarks follows:

 “First and above all, I want to thank God because it is by His grace that I was delivered from an unjust prosecution. I want to thank my children, Alicia, who was here with me every day in court and brought my lovely granddaughter, Evangelina, to New Jersey so I could remember what I had to fight on for. My son, Rob, who testified on my behalf and then joined his sister in court, who kept me company and even let me beat him in a round of golf. I'm so blessed to have two great children. I love you so much, I can't -- I can't truly thank you.

 “I want to thank my sister and her husband. Their presence and the bible passages my sister would send me were an incredible strength for me. I want to thank Melgen family for their constant friendship and faith in our innocence and I wish my dear friend, Sal, success in his continuing search for justice.

 “I want to thank my defense team, as well as the Dr. Melgen’s attorneys: Abbe Lowell, the nation's premiere defense attorney, who methodically tore apart the government's case; his partner, Jenny Kramer, the former prosecutor turned advocate for justice; and ray brown, whose insights were invaluable, and his associates, Greg Hilzer and Justin Kolbenshlag, who gave their total commitment to our cause; and to Dr. Melgen’s defense team—Kirk Ogrosky, Murad Hussain, Jon Cogan and Sam Stern—for their invaluable roles.

 “I want to thank the jury, 12 New Jerseyans who saw through the government's false claims and used their New Jersey common sense to reject it.  I appreciate their service. I appreciate their sacrifice and time away from their family and professions.

 “I want to thank my colleague, Senator Cory Booker, who has been supportive from day one and traveled the state and spread the word, was here on the first day of trial and came and testified and was in my mind a profile in courage. I know that many who were close to him urged him not to testify, but it's the measure of an incredible man who is willing, not only to use his personal reputation, but take a risk in order to see justice done. He is a public servant of unlimited potential who could easily serve our country in the highest office of all of the land. I will never forget it, Cory and you have my gratitude and respect forever.

 “I also want to thank Senator Lindsey Graham, my friend and colleague for once again crossing the aisle and coming to testify as to my character and truthfulness and my honesty. And while I know he came as a friend, I appreciate the political capital he used as a Republican to come and testify on behalf of the democratic colleague. That's rare indeed in today's politics.

 “I want to thank the clergy of all different denominations who stood with me, who strengthened me and, yes, prayed with me. I'm thankful for your comfort and support. I want to thank Kerry Magro, a leader in the autistic community, Bishop Jackson, Tasos Zambas, my dear friend and Cypriot leader, all for being character witnesses. I want to thank the hundreds of New Jerseyans who I encountered along the last ten weeks who overwhelmingly expressed their support and more importantly, their prayers. I want to thank my staff both in D.C. and New Jersey for their loyalty and above all their dedication of the people of New Jersey, especially Fred Turner, my chief of staff, Mike Solomon, my political director, and Mike Ortega, my special assistant.

“Now let me say a few things. The way this case started was wrong. The way it was investigated was wrong. The way it was prosecuted was wrong. And the way it was tried was wrong as well.  Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot understand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County can grow up to be a United States senator and be honest. I can't even begin to tell you how many people have come to tell me that the FBI went to them and asked them ‘what can you give us on Menendez?’ That is not what the FBI and the department of justice is supposed to be doing.  They were not supposed to be leaking to the press in the early stages of their investigation. It violated my rights to a fair process.

“I’ve made my share of mistakes, but my mistakes were never a crime. I’ve learned through this process a lot about our system of justice. It is truly a system of justice you can afford. I understand why so many Americans feel that justice is elusive. But for supporters from around the country who believed in me, who knew who I am and what I stand for, I could never have afforded the millions of dollars this case has cost. So my gratitude to all those New Jerseyans and Americans from across the country who believed in me and helped me mount my legal defense against the millions of dollars spent by the overwhelming weight of the federal government.

“I've also learned about the incredible weight and power of the federal government and how it can crush you, if it wants to. It gives me an even greater resolve to make sure that there is a check to that awesome power. ‘Cause where do I go to? What office or department of the federal government gives me back the past two and a half years of my life? Where do I go to have the damage they sought to incur to my reputation, where is it, what department is it that replaces it?

“So, let me share some final thoughts: To those who left me, who abandoned me in my darkest moment, I forgive you. To those who embraced me in my darkest moment, I love you. To those New Jerseyans who gave me the benefit of the doubt, I thank you. To those who have a doubt I'll work harder so there is no doubt. To those in the press who did their job and did it with professionalism and even to some of you who are actually kind—where is Dominic, I don't see him, Dominic?—I believe you showed others what professional press is all about, and why that freedom is so important to our society. To those who were digging my political graves so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won't forget you.

“Finally, let me answer the question that I could not answer before the trial was over: Why didn't I testify? There is nothing more that I wanted to do but to tell my story. I am proud of the thousands of people I've helped in New Jersey and across the country who I have helped with their Visas, reuniting families, and very often bringing people they were denied so they could save the life of a loved one. I'm proud to have my work to have 100% port scanning, something that I have been a champion of and believe is in the vital national security interests of the United States to secure it and stop the flow of drugs. My fight to save Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars. I believe we can't afford to throw out good medicine when we can carefully administer it to patients. But a trial is not a debate. It's not a public forum. It's a legal proceeding.

“My testimony on direct and cross examination would have likely taken days. That means we would have put at risk losing one of the jurors who was told she would be excused to go on a pre-planned vacation. And, we collectively felt—by the way she reacted to different parts of the prosecution and defense's presentations—that she believed in our innocence.  And we didn't want to lose her. Boy, were we right on that. And we still lost her.

“Secondly, the prosecution would have used me to redo their entire meritless case in chief all over again, including having me read emails and other materials that were not mine, but would have put my voice and my name for their purpose, in essence, giving them an additional summation before their final summation. So that was just a small window into my thinking.

“Anyone who knows me, knows that I never seek a fight. But they also know that I never shy away from one. This wasn't a fair fight.

“I’ve spent 43 years, my entire adult life, in public service to the people of New Jersey and the nation. It has been one of my greatest privileges. I have served with honesty and integrity and given it my all every day.

“I am proud of what I've been able to accomplish to the people of New Jersey. I am proud of many young people, and many from the Hispanic community look at me and think that it is possible to grow up poor, go to public schools, be the first in your entire family to go to college and rise to be one of 100 United States senators, in a country of 310 million people.

“I look forward to going back to Washington to serve the people of New Jersey and many across the country to help them realize their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations. Today is resurrection day, and I want to thank god once again for allowing me to stand before you as I walked into this courthouse 11 weeks ago, an innocent man.”   

 

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