NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) — The New York federal judge presiding over the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has rejected a defense request to delay the start of jury selection from May to July.

Judge Sidney H. Stein's order leaves in place a May 5 trial date in Manhattan for the New Jersey Democrat, who faces trial along with his wife and three New Jersey businessmen.

All have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they engaged in a bribery conspiracy that enriched the senator and his wife with cash, gold bars and a luxury car. Menendez, his wife and one of the businessmen also have pleaded not guilty to a charge that they conspired to illegally use the senator as an agent of the Egyptian government.

Lawyers for Menendez claimed earlier this month that they need extra time to prepare for trial, in part because they've been given over 6.7 million documents and in part because the complexity of the legal questions.

Prosecutors opposed the request on the grounds that they had warned defense lawyers when the trial date was set in the fall that the evidence they would turn over would be voluminous.

After his September arrest, the senator gave up his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but has remained in his Senate seat.

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