"I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to reevaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion".
"Despite the five years of this ordeal, Senator Menendez never wavered in his innocence and his commitment to the people of New Jersey", Lowell said in a statement. "No matter the challenges ahead, I will never stop fighting for New Jersey and the values we share". "I thank God for hearing my prayers and for giving me strength during this hard time", the senator said.
Walls' decision came days after the Justice Department said earlier this month that it meant to retry Menendez after Walls declared a mistrial in the corruption case in November. Robert Menendez rather than retry him after a divided jury failed to reach a verdict a year ago.
Judge Walls had dismissed the charges involving Menendez's efforts on Melgen's behalf in the Medicare billing dispute and the port security contract, saying prosecutors wanted the court "to fashion speculative inferences under the conclusory generalizations of context, chronology, escalation, concealment, and a pattern of corrupt activity - each of which is empty of relevant evidential fact".
Menendez, in turn, allegedly tried to help Melgen get USA visas for his girlfriends, brought his influence to bear in an $8.9 million billing dispute with Medicare and helped out with a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they would drop their bribery case against U.S. Sen. Eleven charges remained before Wednesday's decision, including bribery, fraud and conspiracy.
Lawyers for Menendez and Melgen did not object to the change of heart by the Justice Department.
Judge William Walls, who had presided over the first two-month trial, subsequently dismissed seven of the 18 counts in the indictment, but let stand the 11 remaining charges.
Melgen was convicted separately in Florida last spring in a Medicare fraud case that prosecutors amounted to more than $100 million. He dismissed three counts of bribery against Menendez and three against Melgen that involved more than $750,000 in political contributions benefiting the senator's 2012 re-election campaign.
Menendez served in the House from 1992 to 2006, taking over Jon Corzine's Senate seat when Corzine became New Jersey governor. Mendendez' defense lawyers argued that the donations must be tied to specific actions by Menendez to be considered bribes.