Menendez judge allows evidence of ‘innocent’ actions

In this file photo, Sen. Bob Menendez talk to reporters as he arrives to court for his federal corruption trial in Newark, N.J., (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

In this file photo, Sen. Bob Menendez talk to reporters as he arrives to court for his federal corruption trial in Newark, N.J., (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

Defense attorneys for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez will be allowed to present evidence of actions he took that are similar to those he faces at his bribery trial but aren’t considered criminal.

For instance, the defense wants to show the New Jersey Democrat helped people get visas as part of his job.

Among the charges Menendez faces are that he intervened to get visas for alleged girlfriends of a wealthy donor in exchange for bribes.

Prosecutors had sought to have most of the evidence excluded. U.S. District Judge William Walls said during Tuesday’s court proceeding he would allow it, but would limit it as he saw fit.

Prosecutors allege Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen bribed Menendez with trips on his private plane and luxury vacations.

Both men deny the allegations.

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