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The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

The Student News Site of Lakeland Regional High School

The Lancer Ledger

The Menendez Bribery Case: Background on Corrupt Senator

“Robert Menendez” By Senator Bob Menendez (CC – BY – 2.0)
Bob Menendez, pictured here, has been charged on 16 counts of federal bribery dating back to 2023. As the trial progresses, will his current plea of not guilty change?

What to Know about the Menendez Bribery Case

New Jersey democratic Senator Bob Menendez faces 16 charges in his federal bribery case.

Menendez’s trial began Monday, May 13, 2024 in a Manhattan courtroom. The senator is accused of accepting cash, gold, luxury watches, and more from New Jersey businessmen in exchange for official favors that benefit the same businessmen, as well as Egypt and Qatar.

Here’s everything you need to know about the case as the trial begins:

The Charges
Menendez’s case dates back to 2023, when a federal grand jury located in New York indicted both Menendez and his wife, Nadine, of having a corrupt relationship with three businessmen in New Jersey. The indictment on bribery and extortion alleged that the couple willingly received thousands in bribes from businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daides between 2018 and 2022. In return for the bribes the senator used his power to protect and benefit the businessmen, as well as Egypt.

In June 2022, government officials searched the Menendezs’ home, finding evidence of the bribery agreements. The search also revealed a hidden $480,000 in cash, $70,000 in N. Menendez’s safe deposit box, and more than $100,000 worth of gold. According to ABC News, in exchange for the bribes, Menendez was meant to lift a block on U.S. aid to Egypt, “improperly advise and pressure a U.S. agricultural official to protect a contract for Hana to become the exclusive purveyor of halal meat to Egypt.” Menendez has also been accused of attempting to disrupt criminal investigations into both Uribe and Daibes.

Then, in October 2023, prosecutors filed new charges against Menendez for “violating a prohibition on members of Congress from acting as an agent of a foreign principal.” The indictment alleged the senator “made multiple requests for the U.S. Department of Justice to commence an investigation against another person for allegedly failing to register under FARA [the Foreign Agents Registration Act].” In another superseding indictment from March, Menendez and his wife were charged with new counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and the obstruction of justice in the 2022 investigation.

While Menendez currently faces 16 charges, his wife faces 15. Both are pleading not guilty at this time.

Separate Trials
Menedez and his wife are being tried separately, as she is currently battling breast cancer. While his trial has already begun, hers will begin on July 8. According to a sealed court document released in April, Menendez may attempt to blame his wife once on the stand. Senator Menendez’s attorneys have determined that when on the stand in his own defense, the Senator can claim his wife hid information from him and that he was unaware of her illegal actions.

One of the three businessmen involved, Uribe, has pleaded guilty. In his plea, he admitted to seven charges including bribery, conspiracy and obstruction. He has agreed to “truthfully and completely disclose all information with respect to the activities of himself and others,” according to documents released by the court. The other two businessmen involved are currently pleading not guilty and are on trial alongside Menendez.

Previous Charges
This case is not the first time Senator Menendez has been charged with corruption. In a 2015 indictment, a jury was unable to reach a verdict and a judge acquitted some charges causing the case to end in a mistrial in 2018.

These charges revolved around Menendez’s relationship with an eye doctor in Florida, Salomon Melgen. Allegedly, Melgen was providing the Senator gifts in exchange for the use of Menendez’s power to benefit the doctor personally and financially.

The Senator has served in Congress since 2006 and according to ABC news he is the “first sitting member of Congress to be charged with conspiracy by a public official to act as a foreign act.” After the September 2023 indictment, Menendez stepped down as chairman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He currently refuses to resign, even with some of his Democratic Senate colleagues requesting he do so. In March, Senator Menendez announced he will not run for Democratic reelection, but is open to running for the position as an independent candidate.

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About the Contributors
Gabriella Cusmano
Gabriella Cusmano, Staff Writer
Gabriella Cusmano is a freshman at Lakeland Regional High School. As this is her first year in the journalism field, she is very excited to take on something new. Cusmano loves writing about sports, our community, and the entertainment industry. Outside of school, she enjoys running, watching sports, and hanging out with her friends. Cusmano is interested in the business & marketing field, and hopes to carry out her interests in the future.
Christiana Ranft
Christiana Ranft, Staff Writer
Christiana Ranft is a senior at LRHS and is a writer for the Lancer Ledger in Journalism 1. She enjoys reading and writing, and plans on pursuing an English major. Ranft hopes to expand her writing skills over the course of this class and share stories with the public.

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