Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has been indicted for bribery, U.S. prosecutors announced on Sept. 22.
Mr. Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, have both been indicted on bribery charges “in connection with their corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.
According to charging documents, Mr. Menendez and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. The bribes included cash, gold, and payments toward a home mortgage, officials said. Authorities seized some of the gold and cash while serving a search warrant at the Menendez home in June 2022.
In exchange for the bribes, Mr. Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was said to have used his power and influence to “protect and enrich” the businessmen and Egypt, which receives more than $1 billion from the U.S. government per year in grants and military equipment sales.
Those actions included providing non-public, sensitive information to the government of Egypt and pressuring a top official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect a monopoly that had been secured by one of the businessmen.
Mr. Menendez also intervened in a New Jersey state criminal probe into an associate of one of the businessmen, after receiving a new Mercedes-Benz convertible worth more than $60,000 from the businessman, authorities said. The official who was contacted considered Mr. Menendez’s actions inappropriate and declined to act on his recommendations.
After Mr. Menendez contacted another official, the defendant pleaded guilty and received a more favorable agreement than the one he was initially offered.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Menendez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After reports surfaced earlier this year of an investigation into the senator, he told CNN: “This inquiry will end up, I believe, in absolutely nothing.”
Mr. Menendez, 69, has served as a U.S. senator since 2006.
Previous corruption charges, including bribery, were brought in 2015. According to charging documents, the senator accepted nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for taking actions that benefited the doctor, including supporting visa applications for the doctor’s girlfriends.
A jury could not reach a decision, resulting in a mistrial. Mr. Menendez was then acquitted by a judge of some of the charges. Federal prosecutors dropped the rest.
The Senate Ethics Committee found in 2018 that Mr. Menendez knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts, such as private flights and lodging at a villa in the Dominican Republic, from the doctor without obtaining required approval. The senator also failed to disclose the gifts, which was required by Senate rules and federal law. The committee also said Mr. Menendez, while accepting the gifts, used his position as a senator “to advance Dr. Melgen’s personal and business interests” in violation of the law and Senate rules.
Dr. Melgen was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison. Former President Donald Trump commuted Mr. Melgen’s sentence.
This is a breaking story that will be updated.
From The Epoch Times