US prosecutors unveiled an indictment against Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), his wife and three businessmen on Friday, accusing the senator of using his position to aid three businessmen in financial and pending criminal matters, as well as assisting the government of Egypt, in exchange for bribes. Menendez denied the accusations soon after the indictment’s release.
The indictment alleges that the Menendezes received more than $500,000 in cash, $100,000 worth of gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz luxury car and a $23,000 mortgage payment as part of multiple bribery schemes lasting from 2018 through 2022. The bribery schemes allegedly involved co-defendants Wael Hana, Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe.
Prosecutors say Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, was offered a “low-to-no-show job” by Egyptian-American businessman Hana while she was dating the senator. The indictment alleges Bob Menendez then met with multiple Egyptian government officials, obtained “non-public” information for the Egyptian government and used his position to facilitate military aid for Egypt.
The indictment also claims that Menendez intervened to protect an Egyptian Halal-certification monopoly owned by Hana, leading the company to make a $23,000 payment towards Nadine Menendez’ mortgage and a $10,000 payment to her limited liability company (LLC).
Prosecutors also accused Senator Menendez of intervening in pending criminal matters on multiple occasions. The indictment alleges Menendez attempted to intervene in the federal prosecution of Fred Daibes by pressuring the New Jersey branch of the US Attorney’s Office and interfering in the selection of New Jersey’s US attorney. The indictment states Daibes gave Menendez cash and gold bars in exchange.
Menendez also allegedly interfered in a state criminal case and an investigation against two of Uribe’s associates by contacting a New Jersey prosecutor, receiving a Mercedes-Benz for his efforts.
All defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Bob and Nadine Menendez were also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under official color of right.
US Attorney Damian Williams said after releasing the indictment, “My office remains firmly committed to rooting out public corruption, without fear or favor and without any regard to partisan politics, that’s in our DNA.” His office released the indictment two days after NBC News 4 reported that investigators were probing allegations that Menendez received gold bars from Daibes.
Menendez denied the charges, recalling a previous 2015 corruption case against him which resulted in a partial acquittal and dropped charges. Menendez said, “They wrote these charges as they wanted; the facts are not as presented. Prosecutors did that last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version.”
Menendez was also charged with various corruption offenses in 2015 for allegedly accepting over $600,00 in bribes from a friend, ophthalmologist Salomon Milligan. However, a jury deadlocked on the charges in November 2017, resulting in a mistral. A federal judge then acquitted Menendez on 7 out of 18 charges facing him in January 2018, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped the remaining charges days later.