Aidan O'Connor Quoted in New Jersey Law Journal Article
Aidan P. O’Connor, Partner and Co-Chair of the Criminal Defense and Investigations practice groups at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in a New Jersey Law Journal article, “Robert Menendez Has Been Charged – Again. But Will It Stick?” The article discusses how federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, his wife and three associates on corruption charges in the Southern District of New York. Menendez is accused of using his official influence on behalf of Egypt, and other official acts, in exchange for cash, gold and a Mercedes-Benz.
O’Connor believes that trying the case in New York, rather than New Jersey, could be beneficial to Menendez, since jurors there might be less likely to remember his first corruption trial.
The discovery of large sums of cash and gold bars in the Menendez home certainly helps the prosecution, but the bottom line in an honest services case is that prosecutors still must demonstrate a quid pro quo, which translates to “this for that,” says O’Connor.
“It looks bad when anyone talks about lots of cash and gold bars. There’s a lot of quid. The goal is to capture about as much of a quo, and that was what they didn’t prove last time,” O’Connor said.
The allegations that Menendez sought to exercise his influence with foreign officials could be problematic because it’s not clear how far those actions are from normal, O’Connor said.
“OK, he met with some Egyptian officials. I suspect he could probably say he meets with officials from two dozen different nations because he’s the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Is that really wrong? I don’t know. It sounds bad when you kind of take it in isolation. It certainly sounds like it’s not appropriate. But, you know, meeting with these guys, that’s what politicians do,” he said.
“There are a lot of very serious allegations. But they still have to tie them together to say he did this because of that. That connection really has to be made,” said O’Connor.
To read the full article, click here.