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Judge declares mistrial in Menendez case

The New York Times and media outlets across the nation recently spread the news: the sprawling, months-long federal corruption trial of Senator Robert Menendez is over. The powerful New Jersey pol was defiant and relieved after the judge declared a mistrial because the jury was deadlocked.

The trial swirled around the long friendship between Menendez and co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen. As regular readers of our New York Health Care Law blog will recall, we wrote in this space about the conviction of Melgen earlier this year in a separate trial on Medicare fraud.

In that case, prosecutors had argued that the now-retired retinal specialist had run a multimillion dollar scheme to diagnose patients with wet macular degeneration — an eye disease. Expert analysis determined that many of the doctor's patients did not have the condition that robs people of sight.

Prosecutors argued that the doctor defrauded Medicare of approximately $105 million over the years.

A news report said the 62-year-old eye doctor billed Medicare for more than any other physician in the country back in 2012: $21 million that year.

Sentencing in that case was delayed until the Melgen-Menendez trial was concluded. In the recent trial, prosecutors argued that the doctor lavished extravagant gifts on his friend in exchange for favors.

With the recent declaration of a mistrial, it is not yet clear if prosecutors will retry the case. That decision could hinge on statements made by one of the jurors, who said 10 out of 12 on the jury were for acquittal.

Those under investigation for health care fraud or related matters can discuss their legal options with a health care law attorney.

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