Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez's bribery trial begins today in New Jersey, more than two years after initial charges were filed against him. He has pleaded not guilty.
What to know:
- Menendez allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars and gifts from co-defendant Dr. Salomen Melgen in return for Menendez acting as Melgen's political advocate. Allegations surfaced in 2006, per CNN, and Menendez was indicted in 2015.
- Thomas Cooke, former assistant state attorney in Maryland, told CNN the government must "establish a direct connection between the financial incentives provided to Menendez and his official acts."
- There are 18 bribery and fraud charges against the two men which each carry up to 15 years in prison. The trial is expected to last two months.
Worth noting: If Menendez is convicted, Gov. Chris Christie will most likely appoint a Republican to replace him.