New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has been indicted for bribery according to a statement from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Menedez is the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Democrat and his wife, Nadine, have been under federal investigation since 2022. The couple is allegedly believed to have taken $400,000 worth of gold bars from New Jersey developer and former bank chairman Fred Diabes and his associates – Wael Hana and Jose Uribe. In exchange, Menendez reportedly agreed to use his official influence to sway the Justice Department which had accused Diabes of bank crimes.
Newly unsealed documents filed in New York accused Menedez and his wife of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt,” per Fox News.
“From at least in or about January 2018 through at least in or about June 2022,” the senator, his wife, Hana, Uribe, and Diabes “and others known and unknown, willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to commit bribery of a federal employee,” according to the indictment. “It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that [Menendez], the defendant, and others known and unknown, being a public official, directly and indirectly, would and did corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive and accept something of value personally and for another person and entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act and for being induced to do an act and omit to do an act in violation of his official duty.”
Menendez is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest service fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion.
In addition to the gold bars, the Menedezs purportedly accepted a luxury vehicle, payments for their home mortgage, and “compensation for a low-or-no-show job.”
“As always, should any official inquiries be made, the Senator is available to provide any assistance that is requested of him or his office,” Michael Soliman, a spokesman for Menendez’s office, told The Hill on Sept. 22.
Menendez was previously indicted in 2015. He was accused of accepting bribes from ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen of Palm Beach by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit. The senator was charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of making false statements, one count of violating the travel act, eight counts of bribery and three counts of honest services fraud. Menendez reportedly accepted $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for influencing the outcome of multimillion contractual and Medicare billing disputes in Melgen’s favor and for supporting the “visa applications of several of Melgen’s girlfriends.”
The two men were indicted on April 1, 2015.
“The job of an elected official is to serve the people,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel of the FBI, in a press release. “The citizens of New Jersey have the right to demand honest, unbiased service and representation from their elected officials at all levels of government. The charges and activity alleged in this indictment are another example of the FBI’s commitment to aggressively and tenaciously pursue public corruption in the state of New Jersey.”
The federal corruption case ended in a mistrial in 2017.
Menendez was appointed to the United States Senate and subsequently won his first full term in 2006. Prior to his 17-year tenure in the Senate, the Rutgers School of Law alumnus served in the House of Representatives for 14 years and in the New Jersey State Legislature.
Mendez was also elected the mayor of Union City, New Jersey “after taking on his powerful hometown mayor and a corrupt political establishment,” according to his website.
Menendez began dating his wife in February of 2018. The pair became engaged in October of 2019 and were married in 2020. Mrs. Mendez, who was previously Nadine Arslanian, was unemployed prior to her marriage to the senator.