what to know – NBC New York

What to Know

  • For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez is discovering his political profession and freedom on the road in a federal legal case that already has compelled him out of one of many Senate’s strongest posts
  • Prosecutors say he and his spouse accepted gold bars, money and a luxurious automotive as bribes to help three businessmen in his house state and that the favors influenced his interactions with Egypt and Qatar
  • Menendez’s attorneys, although, say he stayed throughout the guidelines and did nothing unlawful

For the second time in a decade, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez faces a corruption trial Monday along with his political profession and freedom on the road in a legal case that already has compelled him out of some of the highly effective posts in Congress.

The 70-year-old New Jersey Democrat and his spouse are accused of accepting bribes from three rich businessmen in his house state and performing quite a lot of favors in return, together with meddling in legal investigations and taking actions benefitting the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

Menendez’s attorneys say he stayed throughout the guidelines and did nothing unlawful. He has optimistically spoken about mounting a reelection marketing campaign the summer season if he’s acquitted.

However even when he escapes and not using a conviction, as he did in a earlier corruption prosecution in 2017, the harm completed to his status may make a political comeback subsequent to unimaginable.

FBI brokers who searched the senator’s New Jersey house discovered a stash of gold bars, value greater than $100,000, and greater than $486,000 in money, a few of it stuffed into the pockets of clothes hanging in his closets.

His fellow Democrats in Washington, D.C., seem to have already written him off, encouraging him repeatedly to resign.

“The proof in opposition to him is vivid,” mentioned Dan Cassino, govt director of the Fairleigh Dickinson College ballot. “This isn’t paperwork or checks: it’s gold bars. The pictures are highly effective, and on condition that New Jersey voters usually don’t know lots in regards to the officers representing them, this could be the one factor they learn about Menendez.”

Menendez has maintained a defiant stance.

“I’m harmless and can show it irrespective of what number of costs they proceed to pile on,” he mentioned after the indictment in opposition to him was up to date once more in early March so as to add costs that he tried to impede the investigation.

Menendez was compelled to relinquish his highly effective place as chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee quickly after the revelation final fall of costs together with bribery, fraud, extortion and appearing as a international agent of Egypt.

The senator’s attorneys have prompt in courtroom papers that he’ll defend himself partly by claiming his spouse, Nadine, stored him at midnight about her dealings with the businessmen, who are also charged within the case.

One among them, Jose Uribe, pleaded responsible and is anticipated to testify. He was accused of shopping for a Mercedes-Benz for Nadine Menendez after her earlier automotive was destroyed when she struck and killed a person crossing the road. She didn’t face legal costs in reference to the deadly crash.

Prosecutors mentioned Sen. Menendez twice tried to assist Uribe by attempting to affect legal investigations involving his enterprise associates.

One other man, Wael Hana, is accused of paying off Menendez for serving to him get a profitable cope with the Egyptian authorities to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary necessities. Prosecutors mentioned Menendez curried favor with Egyptian officers by means of acts together with ghostwriting a letter to fellow senators encouraging them to raise a maintain on $300 million in navy support.

Menendez additionally pressured a U.S. agriculture official to cease opposing Hana’s firm as the only real halal certifier, prosecutors mentioned.

The third businessman, actual property developer Fred Daibes, is accused of delivering gold bars and money to Menendez and his spouse to get the senator to make use of his clout to assist him safe a multimillion-dollar cope with a Qatari funding fund, together with by taking actions favorable to Qatar’s authorities.

Nadine Menendez was charged alongside together with her husband however her trial was postponed till not less than July on account of a well being drawback. Her actions, although, might be key to the narrative prosecutors will ship to jurors by means of dozens of witnesses throughout a trial projected to last as long as two months.

Federal prosecutors say Sen. Bob Menendez and his spouse gave a false cowl story to 2 individuals about how they bought the gold bars concerned within the alleged bribery scheme, because the senator has by no means mentioned how he bought the gold. And now there may be new details about the money discovered within the senator’s house, and maybe some kind of engagement ring swindle. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst stories.

The three-term senator has held workplace at each degree of presidency in New Jersey. He bought his begin within the rough-and-tumble political world of Hudson County, an space throughout from Manhattan identified for influential get together bosses.

Menendez was two years out of highschool in 1974 when he was elected to Union Metropolis’s schooling board. After stints within the New Jersey state Meeting, state Senate and ultimately the U.S. Home, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2006, when Jon Corzine resigned to turn out to be governor. He gained election later that yr.

His political profession had its first main disaster in 2015 when he was indicted on costs involving a rich Florida eye physician accused of shopping for Menendez’s affect by means of luxurious holidays and marketing campaign contributions.

On the time, Menendez resolutely denied the costs and vowed to not give up the Senate. A trial resulted in 2017 with a deadlocked jury and federal prosecutors in New Jersey deserted the case.

Menendez not solely stayed in Congress, he was reelected and stored his chairmanship of the International Relations Committee. He married Nadine Menendez in 2020 after the couple dated for 2 years.

Menendez has remained within the Senate after this newest indictment, too, ignoring requires him to step down earlier than his six-year time period ends Jan. 3. Though he has mentioned he gained’t run for reelection as a Democrat, he has left open the opportunity of an unbiased run. That might complicate issues for Democrats who’ve a slender edge within the U.S. Senate and might hardly afford the prospect of a three-way election within the Democratic stronghold of New Jersey.

In contrast to in 2015, although, his get together largely deserted him. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and others known as on him to resign. Democratic Rep. Andy Kim launched a marketing campaign for Menendez’s seat the day after the indictment.

Decide Sidney H. Stein has rejected Menendez’s try to say legislative immunity protects him from the costs.

The decide has but to rule on whether or not the protection can name a psychiatrist to indicate Menendez habitually saved money in his house as a “concern of shortage” response to household tales about how their financial savings had been confiscated within the Communist revolution in Cuba, earlier than he was born, and due to monetary issues stemming from the playing drawback of his father, a struggling carpenter.

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