The jury in the trial of Sen.
"I wish her a great vacation, I wish she hadn't left, but I hope that no juror in the jury room feels bullied by another juror", he said.
At around 2 p.m., the jury sent a note to the judge saying they were deadlocked and could not reach a verdict on any of the charges.
After receiving the note, Walls re-read the jurors instructions on how they should reach a verdict and sent them home an hour early to rest before returning to court on Tuesday.
"Go home and have a good meal and have a good sleep", Walls told the jury.
Walls encouraged the jury to put their past experiences behind them and "start fresh" with the new alternate juror.
Menendez seemed buoyed by the jurors' note. "And clearly there are jurors who believe in my innocence". The donor, a prominent Florida eye doctor, is also on trial. The prosecutors at that time would choose whether to retry the case.
A mistrial also would represent a mixed bag for Menendez. Prosecutors say the senator took gifts such as a luxury hotel stay, private flights and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Melgen and in return Menendez acted as the doctor's "personal senator", advocating on his behalf on various government matters. Conversely, the charges likely would be hanging over him as he seeks re-election next year, assuming the government seeks a retrial.
A juror, who was dismissed last week due to a previously scheduled vacation, told reporters on Friday, November 10th, that she had voted for acquitting the senator on all counts.
Defense attorneys argued Monday that the excused juror's comments could be a breach of protocol. Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell told Walls he should declare it a hung jury and "thank them for their service". They also contend Menendez's meetings with government officials were focused on broad policy issues.
A mistrial could partly reinforce the view that official bribery cases have become more hard to prosecute, a trend traced to last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the bribery conviction of former Republican Virginia Gov.
This story has been corrected to show there are 18 charges, not 19.