The Sen. said they allegedly accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes for using the senator’s influence to enrich three New Jersey businessmen and benefit the Egyptian government. Bob Menendez, DN.J. And his wife has been charged. , according to An accusation The filing in Manhattan federal court was made public Friday.
The charges include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official privilege. The bribes received by the couple included “cash, gold bars, home mortgage payments, compensation for low or no-show work, a luxury vehicle and other items of value.”
In June 2022, federal agents said they found several items when they executed a search warrant at the couple’s home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. They found more than $480,000 in cash, “much of it stuffed in envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe,” including jackets with the senator’s name hanging in his closet and more than $70,000 in Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box, the indictment alleges.
Agents also reportedly found a Mercedes-Benz convertible valued at more than $60,000 that New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana and Jose Uribe gave to Menendez’s wife in exchange for the senator’s intervention in the state’s case against an associate of Uribe and an investigation into an employee named by Uribe. cousin Federal agents found hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold bars at the senator’s home, which had been provided by Hanna and another businessman, Fred Teibs. All three businessmen were accused in the charge sheet.
A source close to Menendez said Friday that he will step down as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee while the case continues. He denied the allegations against him in a statement, saying prosecutors had “misrepresented the normal work of a congressional office.”
“I am focused on continuing this important work and will not be distracted by baseless allegations,” he said.
Nadine Menendez’s attorney, David Scherdler, said in a statement that he has “claimed no wrongdoing and will vigorously defend these charges in court.”
The senator and his co-defendants are expected to appear in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Lower Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and be arraigned later that day.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced the charges at a news conference on Friday. Williams noted that Menendez’s Senate website cannot compel an organization to act in favor of someone, influence matters involving private business, or engage in criminal matters. “But behind the scenes, we allege that Sen. Menendez is doing those things for certain people — people who are bribing him and his wife,” he said.
The case remains under investigation, and Williams asked anyone with information about the matter to call the FBI’s tip line.
Among the charges in the indictment is that Menendez “provided sensitive information to the United States government and took other actions that secretly assisted the government of Egypt.” It also says the senator pressured a U.S. Department of Agriculture official for the purpose of protecting a commercial monopoly granted by Egypt to Hana, an Egyptian American.
According to the indictment, Hanna and Nadine Menendez “were friends for years” before they began dating the senator. In early 2018, he told Hana that he was dating Menendez and that “over the next months and years,” they would introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to the senator “for the purpose of establishing and confirming a corruption deal.” With the help of two other businessmen, he paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” to the senator and his wife, “in exchange for Menendez’s actions and derelictions of duty to benefit the Government of Egypt, Hana and others. Foreign military sales and foreign military funding,” the filing alleges.
In March 2018, Menendez met with Egyptian military officials at the senator’s office in Washington “at a meeting organized and attended by his then-girlfriend Nadine Menendez and her friend Hana,” the indictment says. The meeting was not attended by professional staff from his Senate office or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In May 2018, in the indictment, the senator requested from the State Department “non-public information on the number and citizenship of persons employed at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt,” which was deemed “highly sensitive” because it could “pose” Significant operational security concerns if disclosed to a foreign government or made public.” Without informing any of his staff on Capitol Hill or the State Department, he texted the information to his then-girlfriend Nadine. She forwarded it to Hana, who in turn forwarded it to an Egyptian government official, the filing alleges.
That same month, the indictment states, Nadine conveyed to Menendez a request from an Egyptian official for help in editing and drafting a letter urging other U.S. senators to support U.S. aid to Egypt.
Prosecutors say Menendez “secretly edited and ghost-wrote a demand letter on behalf of Egypt to convince other US senators to withhold $300 million in aid to Egypt.” He sent her this ghostwritten letter from his personal account, and then he sent it to Hana, who then sent the draft to the Egyptian authorities. The indictment says the couple deleted the email Nadine asked Menendez to write.
In March 2020, Nadine Menendez texted an Egyptian official saying, “Anytime you need anything, you have my number and we’ll do everything,” the indictment says. A few days later, the official, whom he referred to as “the general”, was called by Sen. Menendez arranged to meet. Ultimately, the senator said he was writing to the Treasury and State secretaries to “express my concern about stalled negotiations”.
It alleges that Menendez “promised and used his influence and authority and violated his official duty to recommend that the President nominate a person to be the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.” Jersey Developer Tapes.
A spokesperson for Hana said they are reviewing the allegations, but “based on our initial review, they have no merit.” Daibes’ attorney said in a statement, “Based on our review, we believe Mr. Daibes will be fully exonerated of all charges.”
If convicted, the indictment states, Menendez and his wife “shall forfeit all property of the United States, real and personal, traceable to or derived from the proceeds of the commission of those crimes,” though subject to forfeiture. Approved by judge. These include their home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; A Mercedes-Benz convertible, more than $486,000 was seized from the home, nearly $80,000 was seized from a safe deposit box, and several gold bars were taken from their home.
The indictment comes after a year-long corruption investigation led by Williams’ office. Menendez has previously denied any wrongdoing, saying in May, “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be absolutely nothing.”
This is the second impeachment the senator has faced since being elected to the Senate in 2006. In 2015 he was accused of illegally accepting favors from a Florida eye doctor, including a private jet to a five-star hotel. Paris and more than $700,000 in political contributions to him and the Democratic Party.
The case ended in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict. Federal prosecutors decided not to re-examine him.
Menendez appears to be the first senator in U.S. history to be indicted on two unrelated charges, according to data compiled by the Senate Historical Office. The senator was elected for a third term with 54% of the vote and is up for re-election next year.
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