Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine, indicted on bribery charges

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and his spouse have been charged with bribery over their alleged acceptance of “lots of of 1000’s of {dollars}” in return for using the senator’s affect to counterpoint three New Jersey businessmen and profit the Egyptian authorities, in response to an indictment filed in Manhattan federal court docket that was made public Friday.

The costs embrace conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit trustworthy companies fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion underneath coloration of official proper. The bribes the couple obtained included “money, gold bars, funds towards a house mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxurious car and different objects of worth,” the indictment alleges.

Federal brokers stated they found most of the objects once they executed search warrants within the couple’s dwelling in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, in June 2022. They discovered greater than $480,000 in money, “a lot of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothes, closets, and a secure,” together with jackets bearing the senator’s identify that had been hanging in his closet, in addition to greater than $70,000 in Nadine Menendez’s secure deposit field, the indictment alleges.

Federal investigators allege money discovered cash stuffed in Menendez jackets once they executed a search warrant in June 2022. (USDC Southern District of New York)

Brokers additionally allegedly found a Mercedes-Benz convertible price greater than $60,000 that New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana and Jose Uribe gave to Menendez’s spouse in alternate for the senator’s interference in a state prosecution of Uribe’s affiliate and investigation into an worker whom Uribe known as a relative. Federal brokers additionally discovered gold bars price lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} within the senator’s dwelling that had been supplied by Hana and one other businessman, Fred Daibes. All three businessmen had been additionally charged within the indictment.

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer confirmed in a press release on Friday afternoon that Menendez “has rightly determined to step down briefly” as chair of the Overseas Relations Committee till the matter is resolved. A supply near Menendez had instructed NBC Information earlier within the day that he would step down from his place on the panel whereas the case proceeds.

He dismissed the allegations in opposition to him in a press release, saying prosecutors have “misrepresented the conventional work of a Congressional workplace.”

“I stay centered on persevering with this vital work and won’t be distracted by baseless allegations,” he stated.

The senator is already dealing with resignation calls, from fellow Democrats. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and a few congressional Democrats, together with some from Menendez’s dwelling state, stated Friday that he ought to resign.

Menendez rebuffed these calls Friday evening, saying in a press release that some individuals had been “speeding to guage a Latino and push him out of his seat.”

“I’m not going wherever,” he stated.

Nadine Menendez’s lawyer, David Schertler, stated in a press release that she “denies any wrongdoing and can defend vigorously in opposition to these allegations in court docket.”

Federal investigators allege Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., received bribes in the form of gold bars. (USDC Southern District of New York)

Federal investigators allege Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., obtained bribes within the type of gold bars. (USDC Southern District of New York)

The senator and his co-defendants are anticipated to seem within the U.S. District Courtroom for the Southern District of New York, in decrease Manhattan, at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and can be arraigned later that day.

The U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, introduced the fees at a information convention Friday. Williams famous that Menendez’s Senate web site says he cannot compel an company to behave in somebody’s favor, affect issues involving a non-public enterprise or get entangled in legal issues. “However we allege that behind the scenes, Sen. Menendez was doing these issues for sure individuals — the individuals who had been bribing him and his spouse,” he stated.

The investigation within the case is ongoing, Williams stated, asking that anybody with information of the matter name the FBI’s tip line.

Among the many allegations within the indictment is that Menendez “supplied delicate U.S. Authorities info and took different steps that secretly aided the Authorities of Egypt.” It additionally says the senator pressured an official on the U.S. Agriculture Division for the aim of defending a enterprise monopoly granted by Egypt to Hana, who’s an Egyptian American.

Based on the indictment, Hana and Nadine Menendez “had been associates for a few years” earlier than she began relationship the senator. In early 2018, she knowledgeable Hana that she was relationship Menendez and “within the following months and years,” they labored to introduce Egyptian intelligence and army officers to the senator “for the aim of building and solidifying a corrupt settlement” through which Hana, with help from the 2 different businessmen, “supplied lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} of bribes” to the senator and his spouse “in alternate for Menendez’s acts and breaches of obligation to profit the Authorities of Egypt, Hana, and others, together with with respect to overseas army gross sales and overseas army financing,” the submitting alleges.

Round March 2018, Menendez met with Egyptian army officers “at a gathering organized and attended by his then-girlfriend Nadine Menendez and her buddy Hana” on the senator’s workplace in Washington, D.C., the indictment says. The assembly didn’t contain skilled employees from his Senate workplace or the Senate Overseas Relations Committee.

In Might 2018, the indictment alleges, the senator sought “private info concerning the quantity and nationality of individuals serving on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt” from the State Division, which was thought-about “extremely delicate” as a result of it might “pose vital operational safety considerations if disclosed to a overseas authorities or if made public.” With out informing any of his employees on Capitol Hill or the State Division, he texted that info to his then-girlfriend, Nadine. She forwarded it to Hana, who then forwarded it to an Egyptian authorities official, the submitting alleges.

That very same month, the indictment alleges that Nadine conveyed a request from an Egyptian official to Menendez looking for help in enhancing and drafting a letter lobbying different U.S. senators to assist U.S. help to Egypt.

Prosecutors say Menendez “secretly edited and ghost-wrote the request letter on behalf of Egypt looking for to persuade different U.S. Senators to launch a maintain on $300 million in help to Egypt.” He despatched this ghost-written letter to her from his private account after which she forwarded it to Hana, who then relayed the draft to Egyptian officers. The indictment says that the couple deleted the e-mail through which Nadine requested Menendez to write down the letter.

In March 2020, Nadine Menendez texted an Egyptian official that “anytime you want something you will have my quantity and we are going to make all the pieces occur,” the indictment says. A number of days later, she organized for Sen. Menendez to satisfy with that official, whom she known as “the final” to debate negotiations over a dam on the Nile River within the area of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Ultimately, the senator reached out to the secretaries of Treasury and State in a letter saying he was writing “to precise my concern in regards to the stalled negotiations.”

The indictment additionally alleges Menendez “promised to and did use his affect and energy and breach his official obligation to suggest that the President nominate a person for U.S. Lawyer for the District of New Jersey who Menendez believed” he might affect concerning the federal prosecution of New Jersey developer Daibes.

Federal investigators allege they found money stuffed in Menendez jackets when they executed a search warrant in June 2022. (USDC Southern District of New York)

Federal investigators allege they discovered cash stuffed in Menendez jackets once they executed a search warrant in June 2022. (USDC Southern District of New York)

A spokesperson for Hana stated they’re reviewing the fees, however “based mostly upon our preliminary evaluate, they’ve completely no benefit.” Daibes’ lawyer stated in a press release, “Primarily based upon our evaluate, we’re assured that Mr. Daibes can be utterly exonerated of all costs.”

If convicted, Menendez and his spouse should forfeit “to the U.S. any and all property, actual and private, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the fee of stated offenses,” the indictment says, though forfeitures would must be accredited from a decide. That would come with their dwelling in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; the Mercedes-Benz convertible, greater than $486,000 seized from the house, virtually $80,000 seized from a secure deposit field, and several other gold bars taken from their dwelling.

The indictment comes after a yearlong corruption probe led by Williams’ workplace. Menendez has beforehand denied any wrongdoing, saying in Might, “I’m positive it will find yourself in completely nothing.”

The indictment is the second the senator has confronted since he was elected to the Senate in 2006. He was charged in 2015 with illegally accepting favors from a Florida eye physician, together with flights on a non-public jet, three nights at a five-star resort in Paris and greater than $700,000 in political contributions for him and the Democratic Get together.

The case led to a mistrial after jurors had been unable to succeed in a unanimous verdict. Federal prosecutors determined to not retry him.

Menendez seems to be the primary sitting senator in U.S. historical past to be indicted on two unrelated legal allegations, in response to knowledge compiled by the Senate Historic Workplace. The senator, who was elected to a 3rd time period with 54% of the vote, is up for re-election subsequent yr.

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