Feds Tack on New Charges to Menendez’s Bribery Indictment

Reuters/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Reuters/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife were slapped with a slew of new criminal charges in a superseding indictment on Tuesday, all of which stem from the feds’ probe into them allegedly accepting bribes of cash, gold bars, and luxury cars by the Egyptian government.

Among the new charges in Tuesday’s indictment were conspiracy, obstruction of justice, public official acting as a foreign agent, bribery, extortion, and honest services wire fraud.

Those charges come a day after one Jose Uribe, one of three New Jersey businessmen also caught up in the scandal, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the FBI’s probe.

Menendez has repeatedly insisted he never accepted bribes from a foreign government, accusing prosecutors of a witch hunt against him and his family. He has brushed off calls for him to resign from the Senate.

Menendez Ally Pleads Guilty to Bribing Senator—and Agrees to Cooperate

The other businessmen caught up in the ordeal, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, were also handed new charges Tuesday.

The new charges come in addition to the four counts Menendez already faced, which included conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, and conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent.

Menendez’s initial indictment, which arrived last year, accused him and Nadine of accepting $500,000 in cash and over $150,000 in gold bars. They’re also accused of allowing foreign officials to cover payments for their mortgage and a Mercedes-Benz convertible.

The latest indictment, which totals 18 pages, alleges that Menendez wrote checks in December 2022 that he claimed were for car and personal loans, but, in reality, they were “falsely characterizing the return of bribe an effort to interfere with an investigation.”

The indictment accuses Menendez of lying about his knowledge of the payments, instructing his lawyer to tell prosecutors he believed the funds were loans, despite him knowing “in truth and in fact” that it was the return of bribe money.

Tuesday’s superseding indictment marks the third time prosecutors have tweaked the document to add additional evidence and charges. The first came in October, when prosecutors announced Menendez was also charged for conspiring to act as an agent of Egypt, wielding his power as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to benefit the Middle Eastern country. And in January, prosecutors alleged that Menendez also used his position to aid the Qatari government.

Prosecutors have remained vague about how Menendez allegedly aided foreign governments, not divulging specific favors allegedly given by the senator.

If convicted on all charges, Menendez, 70, and his wife, 56, could be sentenced to spend decades in prison.

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