c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a Democratic Senator Robert Menendez Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges
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Democratic Senator Robert Menendez Indicted on Federal Corruption Charges

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez
(Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges in Manhattan, New York. The indictment, which was unsealed in Manhattan federal court, alleges that Menendez accepted luxury goods and large sums of money in bribes in exchange for committing corrupt acts. These acts include providing sensitive information to the government of Egypt. Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are both named in the indictment and charged with three counts. They are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan for their first hearing on Wednesday. Menendez denies the charges, stating that the indictment is full of false accusations and part of a political smear campaign.

In response to the charges, Menendez has decided to step down temporarily from his position as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed support for Menendez, stating that he has a right to due process and a fair trial. The indictment accuses Menendez and his wife of engaging in a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey associates and businessmen. They allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using the senator's power and influence. The bribes included cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other valuable items.

Prosecutors claim to have found high-value gold bars and over $480,000 in cash in a search of the Menendez couple's home. Menendez argues that prosecutors misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office and attacked his wife for her longstanding friendships. He also suggests that some individuals see him as an obstacle to their broader political goals. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York indicated that the investigation is ongoing and more charges may be brought. Menendez previously faced unrelated corruption charges that resulted in a hung jury. He refers to that trial in his statement, questioning the accuracy of the current charges and highlighting the need for a fair assessment of the facts.

According to prosecutors, Senator Menendez is accused of leveraging his position and influence to provide sensitive information to benefit the Egyptian government and a businessman named Hana. This relationship reportedly began through Menendez's wife, Nadine Menendez, who introduced Hana to the senator during their courtship. Nadine, who was later married to Menendez, arranged meetings and dinners where Egyptian officials would make requests for military sales and financing, while Hana offered Menendez's partner a job that required minimal attendance.

In the course of their relationship, Menendez allegedly sought non-public information from the State Department about the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Although not classified, this information was considered highly sensitive due to the potential security risks if disclosed to a foreign government or the public. Menendez shared this information with his girlfriend, who then passed it on to Hana, who further forwarded it to an Egyptian government official. At a dinner hosted by Hana, Menendez also disclosed non-public information about military aid to Egypt.

Furthermore, Menendez's wife shared a request from an Egyptian official, asking for help in drafting a letter lobbying U.S. senators to support aid to Egypt. She mentioned that Hana and an Egyptian official had helped her gain "clearance for a project," leading Menendez to edit and draft the letter. The letter, allegedly sent to Egyptian officials, requested $300 million in aid money for Egypt. Prosecutors claim that both Menendez and his wife later deleted the email containing this request.

Menendez and his wife later traveled to Egypt in October 2021, organized through direct communication with an unnamed Egyptian official. Following this trip, Menendez allegedly searched for the value of gold bars he received from another individual, Daibes. Additionally, the prosecutors assert that Menendez exerted improper pressure on a U.S. Department of Agriculture official to protect a business monopoly held by Hana's company, IS EG Halal Certified Inc., which was used partly to fund bribes paid to the senator and his wife. Egypt had granted this company the exclusive certification rights for halal U.S. food exports to Egypt.

The senator, Menendez, allegedly interfered with ongoing criminal cases involving individuals such as Daibes and Uribe. According to the Justice Department, he recommended a U.S. Attorney to be nominated by the president, whom he believed could be influenced regarding the case against Daibes. In addition, he attempted to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution led by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey relating to Daibes.

Prosecutors have claimed that in exchange for his efforts, Menendez and his wife received a luxurious Mercedes-Benz convertible valued at over $60,000 from Hana and Uribe. Additionally, Uribe is said to have contributed an additional $15,000 in cash for the down payment of the vehicle in April 2019.

These actions make Menendez the first sitting senator to face indictment twice on distinct criminal cases, as per records from the U.S. Senate Historical Office.


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