A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine, Friday, charging him with bribery for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold bars. Menendez denied the charges, saying he had been “falsely accused.”
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York announced that the charges against the New Jersey Democrat will be unsealed at 11 a.m. Friday.
President Joe Biden appointed the prosecutor behind the charges, Damian Williams.
The indictment involves “charging Robert Menendez, U.S. senator from New Jersey, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, with bribery offenses in connection with their corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen,” the U.S. attorney’s office noted.
“From at least 2018 up to and including in or about 2022, [Menendez] and his wife, [Nadine Menendez], engaged in a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey associates and businessmen—[Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes] in which [Menendez and his wife] agreed to and did accept hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using [Menendez’s] power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich [Hana, Uribe, and Daibes] and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt,” the indictment reads. “Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value.”
In a news conference Friday, Williams shared that the bribes consisted of “cash, gold, home mortgage payments, a low show or no show job for Nadine Menendez, a Mercedes-Benz, and other things of value to the Senator and his wife.”
Williams showed photographs of the bribes, including over $500,000 in cash, several gold bars amounting to over $150,000, and the suspected new Mercedes-Benz.
Williams concluded by asserting, “my office remains firmly committed to rooting out public corruption without fear or favor and without any regard to partisan politics. That’s in our DNA. Always has been, always will be. And second, this investigation is very much ongoing. We are not done.”
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement Friday. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
The senator accused the prosecutors of having “misrepresented the normal work of a congressional office” with “false claims” against him and his wife.
“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. senator and serve with honor and distinction,” he added. “I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent.”
Menendez’s statement referred to a previous corruption trial that ended in a mistrial in November 2017 after the jury failed to reach a verdict. The judge later acquitted Menendez of several charges and the Justice Department dismissed others.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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