FBI Witness Adds Up the Cash, Gold Bars at Bob Menendez’s House

(Bloomberg) -- An FBI accountant who detailed the cash and gold bars seized at Senator Bob Menendez’s house was the final prosecution witness at the corruption trial of the New Jersey Democrat.

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The accountant, Megan Rafferty, on Friday summarized evidence about the cash and gold bars seized in a June 2022 raid on the Menendez home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, as well as a safe deposit box opened by his wife, Nadine.

Menendez, a three-term senator, is expected to begin his defense on July 1 at a New York trial where he’s accused of several bribery plots and acting as an agent of Egypt. Jurors heard more than two dozen witnesses over the past six weeks.

Menendez, 70, is on trial with businessmen Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, while his wife, Nadine, faces a separate trial because she has cancer. A third businessman, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and testified as a prosecution witness.

In her testimony, Rafferty brought together several elements of the prosecution case. She said she reviewed records on $552,190 seized by agents, including $117,220 in cash printed after 2018.

Prosecutors are trying to blunt defense arguments that the cash came from regular withdrawals that Menendez made over decades, not from bribes.

Some envelopes with the cash bore the fingerprints of Daibes, a developer who sought the senator’s help in raising Qatari money for a high-rise project in Edgewater, New Jersey, prosecutors charge.

Menendez, she said, also withdrew $86,948 from his Senate federal credit union account between 2016 and June 2022.

Rafferty testified about 13 gold bars that were valued at $266,066 when agents seized them. Prosecutors say the bars, weighing either one kilogram or one ounce, were funneled as bribes by Daibes and Hana. Menendez’s lawyers have argued that Nadine Menendez failed to tell the senator about receiving the gold bars as gifts, and when he learned about them, he disclosed them on a Senate ethics form.

On cross-examination Menendez attorney Adam Fee asked Rafferty about financial records showing that since at least 2008, Menendez made regular $400 withdrawals from a Congressional credit union account.

“If you saw withdrawals of roughly $400 every two weeks for 14 years, would you consider that to be a pattern?,” Fee asked before the judge sustained an objection from prosecutors.

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