The creep factor has been out and about as often as Harvey Weinstein is in and out of whatever Arizona rehab facility banishes him for cell phone use as he seeks to recover from his addiction to starlets. Oddly missing from the news is coverage of the corruption trial of the senior Senator from New Jersey. The evidence in the trial of Robert Menendez reads like a Russian dossier. Senator Menendez was BFF with a wacky doctor who got involved in about $100 million in questionable Medicare billing. The two had good times together, sometimes with various forms of entertainment involved. And the doc made 6-figure donations to the senator.
But, the jury did not see things as criminal. Or some portion of them did not. Absent an evidentiary e-mail that read, “Say, Bob, how about I give you $700,000 to get these regulators off my back?” Without that level of proof, the jury saw no quids in the quos. Patterns, amounts, and frat-boy behavior did not tip the scales. The Barometer blames CSI, Law & Order viewing. Those prosecutors come up with tangible evidence so that there is no possibility of reasonable doubt. Absent the smoking gun, jurors will not employ the tools of logic and deduction. Prosecutors are on their own because jurors will not think through the complexities of timing on gifts, donations, and good times. Once again, elected officials who engage in unseemly behavior declare the most bizarre of victories – not being convicted. Could the bar be any lower for the behavioral standards of our elected officials?