November 13, 2017
The federal jury deciding the fate of New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez will start from scratch Monday after a juror was excused last week to take a trip she had planned before the trial.
On Thursday, Judge William Walls replaced her with an alternate juror and instructed the body to begin deliberations anew this week.
But how do 11 people who have been poring over evidence and offering their viewpoints on the case for more than three days truly start over?
“Restarting the deliberations means just that,” said Mark Lee, a former federal prosecutor and a partner at the law firm Blank Rome in Philadelphia.
Lee acknowledged the original jurors may not be thrilled at the prospect of having to begin deliberating a second time, more than nine weeks into the trial.
But he said it will mean those jurors get a second chance to consider the evidence — with the assistance of a fresh set of eyes on the case.
“That new [juror] may have seen something that the other 11 didn’t see in the first go-round,” Lee said.
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"Jury Presses Reset Button in Menendez Trial," by Joe Hernandez was published in WHYY on November 13, 2017.