The wife of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has entered a not guilty plea after being indicted on conspiracy charges.
The senator and Nadine Menendez allegedly accepted bribes from a group of New Jersey-based businessmen between 2018 and 2022 and, in return, conspired to use his influence to benefit the government of Egypt. According to the Attorney General for the Southern District, the couple accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the men in the form of gold bars, mortgage payments, and a luxury vehicle.
Mrs. Menendez appeared in federal court on Oct. 18 in Manhattan to enter the plea after the Justice Department filed revised charges, accusing her husband of being a foreign agent. She wore a light pink turtleneck and had her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. The other co-defendants in the case, Wael Hana Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, also appeared in court and entered not guilty pleas.
Judge Sidney H. Stein declined Hana’s request to have a GPS ankle monitor removed after Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richenthal counterargued that the dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen was a flight risk. Hana reportedly has more than $25 million in assets overseas. Hana’s attorney has said the monitoring device was painful and kept his client awake at night.
Senator Menedez was excused from his court appearance so that he could attend Senate proceedings. He resigned as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after being arrested in September. He is expected to appear in court on Oct. 23.
“Prosecutors say Menendez was acting on Hana’s behalf when he urged U.S. agriculture officials to stop questioning a lucrative monopoly that Hana’s company obtained from the Egyptian government to certify that all meat imported into that country met religious requirements,” per AP News.
Menedez has denied any wrongdoing.
“The government’s latest charge flies in the face of my long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt and in challenging leaders of that country, including President El-Sisi, on these issues,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country — the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom.”
“Piling new charge upon new charge does not make the allegations true,” the Democrat continued. “The facts haven’t changed, only a new charge. It is an attempt to wear someone down, and I will not succumb to this tactic.”
Menedez was previously indicted on bribery charges in 2015 but the case ended in a mistrial in 2017. He has served in the Senate for the last 17 years and served in the House of Representatives for the 14 preceding years.
Menendez is up for reelection in 2024. His trial has been scheduled for May 6.