Sen. Bob Menendez bribery case jury selection begins ahead of N.Y. trial

May 13, 2024
3,830 Views



Jury selection begins Monday in the federal criminal trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is charged with accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes — including some in gold bars — in return for official acts.

The once-powerful former head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, which he’s described as “salacious.”

The indictment alleges that federal investigators found over $480,000 in cash nestled away in the New Jersey home he shares with his wife, “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe.”

It also alleges the couple received “gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and other items of value,” such as jewelry and exercise equipment.

The senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, has been charged as well, but she will stand trial at a later date because of a medical issue.

Prosecutors with the office of U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York indicted the couple and three businessmen who allegedly bribed the pair in September of last year. One of those businessmen, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty earlier this year and agreed to cooperate with the probe. The other two, Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, have pleaded not guilty and will stand trial alongside Menendez.

The indictment alleges Menendez made positive statements about Qatar to help Daibes get a multimillion-dollar investment from a company tied to the country. The indictment noted a search of Menendez’s home in 2022 turned up “two one-kilogram gold bars and nine one-ounce gold bars that had serial numbers indicating they had previously been possessed” by Daibes.

Menendez is also alleged to have “provided sensitive U.S. Government information” and taken “other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt” in return for bribes from Hana.

Prosecutors have additionally charged the senior senator from New Jersey with allegedly trying to impede federal investigations into him, his wife and Daibes, and with attempting to intervene in the state prosecution of an Uribe associate and a state investigation into an employee of the businessman.

Menendez, who has faced widespread calls to resign from his Democratic colleagues, said in a speech on the Senate floor in January that there “will be at trial a full explanation of what is the truth about those issues, a truth that proves I am entirely innocent of the charges.”

He has also maintained the cash was all his. “For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” he said in a statement in September.

Court filings last week show Menendez is seeking to have a forensic psychiatrist testify in his defense. The psychiatrist would say Menendez is affected by “intergenerational family trauma, and how this disorder caused the Senator to develop a fear of scarcity and a coping mechanism of routinely withdrawing and storing cash in his home.”

He’s also seeking to have a forensic accountant testify that despite the prosecution’s assertion that Menendez has been living beyond his means, his “spending patterns were consistent with his lawful compensation and income.” Prosecutors are opposing their testimony.

The trial of the sitting U.S. senator is taking place roughly two blocks from where former President Donald Trump is standing trial in state court.

The federal criminal trial is the second Menendez has faced since he was elected to the Senate in 2006. He was charged in 2015 with illegally accepting favors from a Florida eye doctor, including flights on a private jet, three nights at a five-star hotel in Paris and more than $750,000 in political contributions for him and the Democratic Party. The case ended in a mistrial in 2017 after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict and prosecutors decided not to retry him.



Source link

You may be interested

Florida man charged in deadly shooting that injured Auburn football player Brian Battie
Sports
shares3,068 views
Sports
shares3,068 views

Florida man charged in deadly shooting that injured Auburn football player Brian Battie

new admin - May 24, 2024

[ad_1] Police in Florida have arrested a man in a fatal shooting that injured Auburn running back Brian Battie and…

Athletic Club’s Iñaki Williams played with shard of glass in his foot for 2 years
Top Stories
shares2,398 views
Top Stories
shares2,398 views

Athletic Club’s Iñaki Williams played with shard of glass in his foot for 2 years

new admin - May 24, 2024

Ghanaian soccer star Iñaki Williams unknowingly played two years with a two-centimeter shard of glass in his left foot, his…

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s net worth swells from $3 billion to $90 billion in five years
Business
shares3,262 views
Business
shares3,262 views

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s net worth swells from $3 billion to $90 billion in five years

new admin - May 24, 2024

[ad_1] Five years ago, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang owned a stake in his chipmaker worth roughly $3 billion. After Thursday’s rally, which…