New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez is sitting in the eye of a legal storm.

He’s been on trial for 18 counts of corruption.

And now he’s about to learn his fate.

Jury deliberations in the case reached a boiling point when one juror had to be excused for a previously planned vacation.

The remaining jurors had to start fresh on deliberations but reported back that they were deadlocked.

The judge assigned to the case instructed them to think about “why” they were there and Menendez’s lawyers objected because that was not in the original instructions model.

Politico reported:

“The federal judge overseeing Sen. Robert Menendez’s corruption case clashed with the Democrat’s lead attorney over jury instructions on Tuesday morning.

“This is a serious matter. This is not reality TV. This is real life,” Judge William Walls told jurors. He then offered the jurors an instruction: “When you sit around that table and you are deliberating, I want you to ask each other one thing: ‘Why?’”

Menendez attorney Abbe Lowell said Walls’ direction to the jurors to ask “why” was not included in the model instructions he had given attorneys.

“I object to the fact that you varied from what you gave us ahead of time,” Lowell said. “I don’t know what the ‘why’ was.’”

Jurors deliberated last week on the 18 corruption counts against Menendez and co-defendant Salomon Melgen. But Walls dismissed one of the jurors last Friday so she could go on a long-planned vacation, and after replacing her with an alternate told jurors to begin deliberations from scratch on Monday.

Jurors on Monday afternoon told Walls they were deadlocked and asked him how to proceed. He sent them home an hour early and told them to get some rest, come back Tuesday and keep deliberating.

Responding to Lowell’s criticism Tuesday, Walls said: “Why is a very common and innocuous but a very effective question. Why? … Just like ‘why are you standing there grimacing?’”

In a motion in 2015, prosecutors filed a motion claiming the allegations of Menedez traveling abroad and hiring underage prostitutes had not been disproven.

New York Daily News reported:

“But in a motion Monday asking the judge to ignore the defense arguments, Justice Department lawyers say the hooker allegations “were not so easily disprovable as the defendants suggest.”

Prosecutors used the defense claims to highlight previously undisclosed tidbits on Menendez’s pursuit of younger woman.

The lawyers say their investigation resulted from “specific, corroborated allegations that defendants Menendez and Melgen had sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.”

Menendez’s 18 counts of corruption do not include having sexual relations with underage prostitutes.

But given the left’s demands that Judge Roy Moore withdraw from the Alabama Senate race over unsubstantiated gossip, accusations that Menendez hired underage prostitutes that prosecutors felt confident enough to put into court filings should prompt the embattled Democrat to resign.