The Signal

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Saturday June 15th

Sen. Bob Menendez indicted on bribery charges

<p><em>New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged with bribery as a result of accepting hundreds of thousands of cash and gold bars in exchange for power (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “</em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Senator_Bob_Menendez_(2022).jpg" target=""><em>Senator Bob Menendez (2022)</em></a><em>” by United States Senate. April 11, 2022). </em></p>

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged with bribery as a result of accepting hundreds of thousands of cash and gold bars in exchange for power (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / “Senator Bob Menendez (2022)” by United States Senate. April 11, 2022). 

By Ally Uhlendorf
News Editor

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged with bribery as a result of accepting hundreds of thousands of cash and gold bars in exchange for power. 

According to an indictment filed in the Manhattan federal court that was made public on Sept. 22, Menendez and his wife agreed to use their power and influence to protect, as well as enrich, three New Jersey businessmen and benefit the Egyptian government. The 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,” according to the indictment document. 

Through search warrants investigating the Menendez’s home in June 2022, it was discovered that the couple was holding more than $480,000 in cash, hidden in envelopes, clothing, closets and a safe, as well as more than $70,000 in Nadine Menendez’s safe. Gold bars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were also found in the senator's home that was provided by Wael Hana and another businessman, Fred Daibes. All three businessmen were also charged in the indictment.

“Agents also allegedly discovered a Mercedes-Benz convertible worth more than $60,000 that New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana and Jose Uribe gave to Menendez's wife in exchange for the senator’s interference in a state prosecution of Uribe’s associate and investigation into an employee whom Uribe referred to as a relative,” according to NBC News. 

As a result, Menendez was forced to relinquish his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fellow Democrats, such as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, have called on Menendez to resign from Congress. Menendez rejected their statements, saying that people were ​​“rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat.” 

This is the second indictment in eight years against Menendez. In the first indictment, in 2015, he was charged with illegally accepting favors from an eye doctor in Florida, including flights on a private jet, three nights at a five-star hotel in Paris and more than $700,000 in political contributions for his party.

The current set of allegations against Menendez states that he interfered in criminal investigations; he consistently pushed to install a state prosecutor that he believed could be influenced in a criminal case against a businessman. The senator continuously abused his power to get involved in the investigation conducted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

Additionally, Menendez repeatedly used his power to benefit the government of Egypt, despite the fact that the U.S. government holds doubts over the country’s human rights record – which has recently prompted Congress to create restrictions on aid. 

According to AP News, Menendez’s “efforts include ghostwriting a letter to fellow senators encouraging them to lift a hold on $300 million in aid to Egypt, one of the top recipients of U.S. government support, as well as transmitting nonpublic information to Egyptian officials about military issues, the indictment says.”

According to the indictment, Menendez and his wife arranged a meeting with Egyptian military officials in 2018 at the senator’s office in Washington, D.C. Later, Menendez sought private information regarding the number and nationalities of persons working in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. This was considered highly confidential information due to the fact that it could create security concerns if the information was made public. 

Menendez then texted the information to Nadine, without informing any of his staff or the State Department. Nadine then forwarded the information to Wael Hana, one of the New Jersey businessmen, who then forwarded it to an Egyptian government official. Nadine also conveyed a request seeking assistance from an Egyptian official to Menendez to edit and draft a letter persuading other U.S. senators to support U.S. aid to Egypt. 

Menendez secretly edited and ghost-wrote the letter on behalf of Egypt seeking to convince senators to release a hold on $300 million in aid to Egypt, according to prosecutors. He sent the letter to Nadine via his personal account, who then forwarded it to Hana, who sent it to Egyptian officials. Both Menendez and Nadine deleted the email that requested the letter to be written. 

In response to these allegations, the senator argued “for years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. 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,” in an email.

As for Menendez’s wife, Nadine, she has decided to deny any criminal accusations and is prepared to fight the charges in court. According to the indictment, if the couple is convicted, they will have to forfeit “to the U.S. any and all property, real and personal, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of said offenses.”




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