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The Latest: Menendez keeps busy public schedule amid trial.

Sen. Bob Menendez, center, arrives with his children, Alicia Menendez and Robert Menendez Jr., to court for his federal corruption trial in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. The trial will examine whether he lobbied for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen's business interests in exchange for political donations and gifts. Both have pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
September 06, 2017 - 7:28 PM

NEWARK, N.J. - The Latest on New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is keeping up a busy public appearance schedule despite the start of his trial on federal corruption charges.

After court adjourned on Wednesday, the Democrat attended a rally of about 100 people outside a federal immigration building next to the courthouse. They were protesting Republican President Donald Trump's decision to end deportation protection for young immigrants living in the country illegally.

He told the crowd that, "We can keep the dream alive. You are not alone."

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2:40 p.m.

An attorney representing U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has told jurors at his corruption trial that the government has no evidence of a bribery arrangement between the New Jersey Democrat and a wealthy Florida eye doctor.

In his opening statement Wednesday, Abbe (AB'-ee) Lowell said Menendez was doing "what 535 members of Congress do all the time" in meeting with government officials on policy issues.

Lowell told jurors that Menendez's meetings with executive branch officials could have benefited Dr. Salomon Melgen's interests but that they were focused on future policy.

Earlier Wednesday, a prosecutor characterized Menendez as accepting gifts and campaign donations from Melgen in exchange for helping lobby for Melgen's business interests.

Both men face multiple fraud and bribery charges. Their joint trial is expected to last about eight weeks.

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12:30 p.m.

Federal prosecutors say U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey "sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn't afford."

Justice Department attorney Peter Koski laid out the government's case in its opening statement in the Democrat's corruption trial Wednesday.

Koski says Menendez later lied about the trips from a wealthy Florida doctor seeking political influence on Senate disclosure forms.

Menendez is charged along with Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen with multiple fraud and bribery charges. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Koski described Menendez pressuring government officials to help Melgen with securing visas for his foreign girlfriends, a lucrative port security contract in the Dominican Republic and a multimillion-dollar Medicare dispute.

Defence attorneys were scheduled to give their opening statements later Wednesday.

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11:40 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is in court to support New Jersey Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez on the first day of his corruption trial.

Booker chatted with Menendez during a break in the court proceedings Wednesday.

Booker and fellow Democrats from New Jersey and beyond have stood by Menendez, who denies the corruption allegations he is charged with.

His support comes as the Republican National Committee launches an online campaign seeking to pressure Democratic senators to vote Menendez out of office if he's convicted.

Booker's political action committee donated $10,000 to Menendez's legal defence fund in 2015. The fund has raised more than $3.2 million since he was indicted in April 2015.

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10:50 a.m.

Opening statements are being delayed in the corruption trial of U.S. Sen Bob Menendez, but that hasn't lowered the tension in the courtroom between the judge and the defence.

An attorney for the New Jersey Democrat accused the judge Wednesday of disparaging Menendez in his opinion denying Menendez's motion to postpone the trial on days of important Senate votes.

U.S. District Judge William Walls continually interrupted to deny the allegation.

Walls also chided defence attorneys for filing a motion on what to include in jury instructions at the end of the trial.

When attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that the motion was filed according to the judge's order from last December, Walls replied, "Fine. Bill me."

Opening statements were delayed Wednesday to seat one regular juror and two alternate jurors.

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10:30 a.m.

Three more jurors need to be selected before opening statements can begin in U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial.

Federal prosecutors and defence lawyers were choosing a juror Wednesday to replace one who informed the court last week that they couldn't serve. Judge William Walls on Wednesday also ruled that there should be six alternate jurors, instead of four.

The New Jersey Democrat arrived at the federal courthouse in Newark for the start of a trial that will examine whether he lobbied for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen's business interests in exchange for political donations and gifts.

Melgen is on trial with Menendez.

Menendez says that "not once have I dishonoured my public office." Both men have pleaded not guilty.

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9:20 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez says, "Not once have I dishonoured my public office," as he arrives at a New Jersey courthouse for the start of his federal corruption trial.

The New Jersey Democrat arrived at the federal courthouse in Newark on Wednesday for the start of a trial that will examine whether he lobbied for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen's business interests in exchange for political donations and gifts.

Melgen is on trial with Menendez.

Menendez has vehemently denied the allegations. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

A conviction could potentially alter the makeup of a deeply divided U.S. Senate. If Menendez is convicted and forced to step down before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leaves office in January, the Republican would pick his replacement.

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1 a.m.

Opening statements are set to begin in the corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend.

The trial will examine whether the New Jersey Democrat lobbied for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen's business interests in exchange for political donations and gifts.

The indictment also alleges Menendez pressured State Department officials to give visas to three young women described as Melgen's girlfriends.

Menendez has vehemently denied the allegations and both men have pleaded not guilty.

The trial is scheduled to get underway Wednesday in Newark.

A conviction could potentially alter the makeup of a deeply divided U.S. Senate. If Menendez is convicted and forced to step down before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leaves office in January, the Republican would pick his replacement.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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