Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his wife face federal charges, as revealed in recently unsealed court documents. Prosecutors allege that the couple engaged in corrupt activities, accepting substantial bribes in return for using Senator Menendez’s political influence for personal gain, CBS News reported.
These bribery charges stem from a lengthy public-corruption investigation conducted by the Justice Department. The indictment, now made public, accuses Robert Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, of three counts related to their dealings with three businessmen based in New Jersey. Additionally, the three associates, identified as Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, are co-defendants facing two counts each.
According to the 39-page indictment, the alleged bribery scheme began in 2018 when the Menendezs purportedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. In exchange, Senator Menendez is accused of using his position to benefit the three businessmen and advance the interests of the Egyptian government. The bribes reportedly included cash, gold, mortgage payments, a dubious job arrangement, a luxury vehicle, and other valuable items.
During a search of the Menendezs’ residence in June 2022, federal agents discovered over $480,000 in cash hidden in envelopes, clothing, closets, and a safe. Additionally, Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box contained over $70,000, along with gold bars worth over $100,000. Some envelopes of cash bearing Menendez’s name were allegedly found in his closet. The indictment includes photographs of the seized cash and two of the gold bars.
Further, the indictment outlines various actions allegedly taken by the Menendezs to benefit the co-defendants. Prosecutors claim that Senator Menendez promised to perform official acts in exchange for the bribes, benefiting both himself and his wife. He is also accused of sharing sensitive government information with Nadine Menendez, who then passed it on to Hana, who, in turn, shared it with an unnamed Egyptian government official.
Additionally, Menendez is alleged to have improperly influenced a Department of Agriculture official to assist Hana’s business monopoly granted by the Egyptian government. Furthermore, he is accused of using his influence to interfere with a criminal investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office related to Uribe. It is claimed that he recommended a candidate to President Biden for the role of New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor, someone he believed he could influence in the federal prosecution of Daibes.
As of now, Senator Menendez’s Senate office has not provided any comments on these charges.
This is not the first time Senator Menendez has faced legal troubles. In 2015, he was indicted on multiple charges, including bribery and conspiracy, relating to gifts received from a wealthy Democratic donor in exchange for political favors. However, that case ended in a mistrial when jurors were unable to reach a verdict after an extended deliberation period. Additionally, CBS News reported in October 2022 that Menendez was under criminal investigation in New York.
Robert Menendez, first elected to Congress in 1992, has been a prominent figure in New Jersey politics. He was appointed to the Senate in 2006 and subsequently elected to a full term. During his Senate tenure, he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position he resumed after Democrats gained control of the Senate following the 2020 election.