- Associated Press - Friday, October 9, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge ruled against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s remaining attempts to have the corruption charges against him thrown out.

Among the arguments dismissed by U.S. District Judge William Walls on Thursday were that prosecutors failed to allege an “official act” under bribery laws and that some of the charges were too vague.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to the charges and plans to appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The 22-count indictment unsealed last spring charged the longtime Democratic congressman with accepting campaign donations and gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for official action on behalf of Melgen’s business interests. Menendez initially faced 14 counts and Melgen faced 12. Melgen also pleaded not guilty.

Walls last month threw out four of the charges against Menendez and Melgen last month, but said most of the charges leveled against them in April could go to trial.

On Thursday, Walls also rejected Menendez’s argument that he couldn’t be charged in New Jersey for allegedly filing a false financial disclosure form because it was filed in Washington

He earlier denied one of Menendez’s central arguments: that the indictment should be thrown out because his actions on behalf of Melgen, in a Medicare dispute and a business deal in the Dominican Republic, were routine legislative work protected by the Constitution’s speech or debate clause. That law shields elected officials from being questioned by prosecutors about legislative work.

Menendez’s argument on the clause could wind its way to the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the trial now expected to start next year. It was originally set to begin this month.

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