Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was acquitted on seven of 18 counts against him, a judge said Wednesday.
Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen had been charged with multiple counts of bribery, honest services mail and wire fraud, and violations of the Travel Act. Like Menendez, Melgen was also acquitted of seven counts.
Judge William Walls of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey acquitted the New Jersey Democrat on counts related to alleged bribery, which stemmed from campaign donations Menendez accepted from Melgen, a Florida eye doctor.
"The failure of the government to produce evidence of facts either direct or circumstantial as predicates for proffered inferences evokes Gertrude Stein's celebrated critique of her hometown, Oakland. 'There is no there there,'" Walls wrote of several of the bribery counts.
Menendez and Melgen still face 11 counts, including conspiracy, bribery and honest services fraud. Menendez faces an additional count of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.
Melgen had been convicted in a separate trial of multiple counts of Medicare fraud. The indictment against Melgen accuses Menendez of intervening on behalf of the eye doctor in a Medicare dispute.
Both Menendez and Melgen said the gifts and campaign donations were innocent and told the court there was no bribery agreement between them.
Walls declared a mistrial in Menendez’s corruption case last year after the jury said it was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the charges against him.
The Justice Department announced last week it would retry the corruption case against Menendez.