NJ Politics Digest: Menendez Corruption Trial Starts Today

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. Alyana Alfaro for Observer

Sen. Bob Menendez goes on trial on corruption charges starting today, more than two years after he was accused by federal prosecutors of selling official actions that benefited a top donor for luxury vacations, gifts and campaign contributions. Menendez is the first U.S. senator to go on trial for corruption in roughly a decade, and the legal battle has huge implications for congressional and New Jersey politics. Ahead of opening arguments, attorneys for both sides sparred over jury instructions.

Atlantic County Democrats picked Colin Bell to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Jim Whelan, who died of a heart attack last month. That means Bell, who already was running for Senate this November, will be an incumbent as he battles Republican Assemblyman Chris Brown in the battleground 2nd legislative district.

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Quote of the Day: “President Trump promised to do right by our nation’s DREAMers, but with this decision he has chosen once again to cloak his presidency with a white nationalist flag instead of the diverse fabric of our multicultural American society.” — Sen. Bob Menendez on President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

NJ Reacts to Trump’s Decision to Overturn DACA
President Donald Trump on Tuesday ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a decision that means up to 800,000 undocumented immigrants who live in the U.S. could face deportation.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Bell Picked to Replace Whelan in NJ Senate
Atlantic County Democrats unanimously appointed Colin Bell on Tuesday to the state Senate seat left vacant by Sen. Jim Whelan, who died in August.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

NJ Gov Race: A Menu of Your Options, New Jersey
Candidates for New Jersey governor gave a window into their platforms and philosophies in a set of statements released on Tuesday by state election officials.
Alyana Alfaro, Observer Read more

Kyrillos to Host Fundraiser for Beck in Battleground Race
State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, a well-connected GOP fundraiser, is coming to the aid of Sen. Jennifer Beck and helping her raise money this month for her tough re-election bid.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

LD2 Preview: Brown and Bell Prepare for Senate Battle
Assemblyman Chris Brown’s quest for the state Senate seat in the 2nd legislative district started long before he kicked off his campaign in a crammed Egg Harbor Township VFW in January.
Christian Hetrick, Observer Read more

Bribery trial for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to open Wednesday
Opening arguments in U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial are set to begin Wednesday, more than two years after the New Jersey Democrat was charged with bribery as part of a scheme to sell his influence in exchange for luxury vacations, gifts, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a Florida eye doctor.
Inquirer Read more

Feds’ objections too little, too late, Menendez lawyer argues
An attorney for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, facing the start of his federal corruption trial Wednesday, argued Tuesday that prosecutors gave up their chance to challenge the defense’s proposed jury instructions when they failed to file any of their own.
NJ.com Read more

DACA program: How the repeal affects New Jersey
Ripple effects from the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will be felt throughout New Jersey, which is among the 10 states with the largest number of recipients of the program.
The Record Read more

NJ DACA immigrants to Trump: We’re living in limbo
The first time Daniel Quiyu felt held back by his lack of legal status, he was a high school senior applying to colleges.
Asbury Park Press Read more

N.J. donors buck national GOP group with Democrat favored to succeed Christie
In 2013, when Gov. Christie was a national GOP star heavily favored to win reelection, a municipal underwriting firm called NW Financial Group donated $10,000 to the Republican Governors Association.
Inquirer Read more

Spotlight on NJ’s Gubernatorial and Legislative Races
Summer may be coming to an end, but the fall campaign season is just starting to heat up. Here’s look at key candidates and ballot questions
NJSpotlight Read more

Back-to-School: Policy and Poltics in the Upcoming Election
Education always plays a big part in New Jersey politics, but this year it’s going to be an even more critical factor thanks to the gubernatorial race.
NJSpotlight Read more

Jersey City voters to have just two choices in mayor’s race
This November’s mayoral race will be a two-man contest, with just Mayor Steve Fulop and attorney Bill Matsikoudis facing off for the city’s top job.
NJ.com Read more

West Milford GOP replaces town council candidate
Steven Castronova, a 2017 Republican town council primary winner charged with hit-and-run in June, will be replaced on the November ballot by Republican Club Vice President Andrena “Andie” Pegel, local GOP officials said Tuesday.
The Record Read more

Why a racist, anti-Semitic hate group keeps targeting central NJ
The leader of a white supremacist group that has spread racist and anti-Semitic flyers throughout central New Jersey claims his Garden State chapter is among his largest and most active.
NJ101.5 Read more

Christie failed workers. The new governor should sign $15 minimum wage hike
Today’s struggles are no less crucial as union members seek a living wage, adequate health care and elected representatives who support the interests of working people. The fight, in fact, has taken on a renewed urgency as the administration in Washington seeks to roll back progress in protecting workers.
NJ.com Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Menendez Corruption Trial Starts Today