Last year, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby sat on a jury that could have handed U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez a criminal conviction for corruption.
On Tuesday night, she was among those celebrating at the New Jersey Democrat’s re-election victory.
As NJ.com reported, Arroyo-Maultsby was dismissed as a juror in the trial due to a vacation she had already scheduled.
She spoke out at the time, however, making it clear she would have voted to acquit the lawmaker.
“They are just trying to throw a good man under the bus,” she said in a November 2017 interview.
Recalling confusion and tension among members of the jury while discussing evidence presented at the trial, Arroyo-Maultsby said at the time that she had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by either the senator or his co-defendant, Salomon Melgen.
“I want Sen. Menendez to know and his friend, Dr. Melgen, that they didn’t do anything wrong,” she said.
Though Melgen was accused of plying Menendez with expensive gifts to gain political favor for his business and industry, Arroyo-Maultsby said she believed the two men were merely “true friends.”
After the trial ended in a hung jury, prosecutors opted against retrying the case.
The North Jersey Record spoke to Arroyo-Maultsby at a victory party Tuesday night. She was wearing a campaign T-shirt supporting Menendez and expressed an opinion similar to her comments almost one year earlier.
She said she “never really knew anything about him before the trial,” describing the evidence she heard as sufficient to form a positive opinion of the senator.
“He’s a good man,” Arroyo-Maultsby said. “I was in that jury room and I know he didn’t do anything wrong.”
Reporter Scott Fallon tweeted a brief video interview in which Arroyo-Maultsby expressed a similar opinion.
Among the supporters tonight @SenatorMenendez’s HQ is Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, a juror on his federal corruption trial. She achieved some fame when she left the jury last year during deliberations to go on vacation. She would’ve voted for acquittal. @northjersey pic.twitter.com/mVNSJdwGtK
— Scott Fallon (@NewsFallon) November 7, 2018
“I came out here tonight because I know Bob Menendez is a very good man,” she said. “And I was in the courtroom and I saw all the evidence — that they didn’t have enough evidence. What he did wrong, he did nothing wrong.”
Arroro-Maultsby went on to call Menendez a “great man” and confirmed she “voted for him” and “voted blue” earlier in the day.
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