Dem Sen Menendez and wife indicted for bribery; DOJ seizes gold bars, ‘hidden’ cash from home

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), 69, and his wife Nadine were indicted for bribery on Friday as the FBI seized a stash of gold bars and $500,000 from their home safe they believe came from corrupt businessmen connected to Egypt.

(Video Credit: Forbes Breaking News)

The couple is ensconced in an alleged pay-to-play scheme where Menendez and his wife allegedly took a long list of bribes in exchange for political influence peddling.

This is the second time in ten years that Menendez has been slapped with corruption-related offenses. He previously fought against charges of conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud related to alleged personal favors. That trial ended in a deadlock.

“Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, are accused of accepting ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes’ in exchange for the senator’s influence, according to the newly unsealed federal indictment,” CNN reported.

“Today, I’m announcing that my office has obtained a three-count indictment charging Senator Robert Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez, and three New Jersey businessmen – Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes – for bribery offenses,” U.S. Attorney Damien Williams said during a news conference late Friday morning.

The alleged bribes reportedly included home mortgage payments, gold, cash, compensation for a “low-or-no-show job,” and a luxury vehicle.

Menendez has been in the Senate since 2006 and is up for reelection next year. According to Senate Democratic Caucus rules, he will now have to step aside as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. However, he can still stay on the panel and in the Senate.

“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists,” Menendez said in response to the indictment.

“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent,” he asserted. “They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met.”

CNN is reporting that according to the senator’s most recent financial disclosure form, his wife sold gold bars worth as much as $400,000 in April.

Menendez is being hit with three alleged crimes that include being embroiled in a bribery conspiracy. The conspiracy counts are also being charged against his wife and three people described as New Jersey associates and businessmen.

The men are being accused of using Menendez’s political influence to benefit their businesses and Egypt.

“In the indictment, prosecutors accuse Menendez of trying to sway the president’s choice of the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey to benefit one of the business associates and to pressure the Department of Agriculture to protect a business monopoly another contact had from Egypt,” CNN reported.

“The Department of Agriculture in 2019 had contacted Egypt to object to it giving Menendez’s contact, Hana, monopoly rights related to supplying halal meat to the US,” the media outlet added.

“Yet Hana met Menendez in his office along with others, including an Egyptian intelligence official, in May 2019, asking for help fending off the US agency’s opposition. The group went to a Washington, DC, steakhouse for dinner that evening, the indictment said,” CNN continued.

Two days after the meeting, the senator allegedly placed a call to an Agriculture Department official, requesting that they stop opposing Hana’s venture.

“When Official-1 attempted to explain why the monopoly was detrimental to U.S. interests, MENENDEZ reiterated his demand, in sum and substance, that the USDA stop interfering with IS EG Halal’s monopoly. Official-1 did not accede to MENENDEZ’s demand, but IS EG Halal nevertheless kept its monopoly,” the indictment charges.

Searches conducted by federal agents in 2022 found a ton of cash. Almost $500,000 including envelopes inside jackets emblazoned with Menendez’s name were found in his home and his safe deposit box, according to the indictment.

Even more damning was the fact that some of the envelopes reportedly had the fingerprints and DNA of one of the business associates on them.

“The federal investigators who searched Menendez’s home also found a ‘luxury vehicle paid for by [Jose] Uribe parked in the garage,’ as well as home furnishings from other business contacts and gold bars,” CNN noted.

“Menendez was charged by federal prosecutors from the US attorney’s office in New Jersey in 2015 with conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud relating to allegedly abusing the power of his office,” the media outlet stated.

According to prosecutors at the time, Menendez received over $600,000 in political contributions, a luxurious hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris, and free rides on a private jet from a wealthy ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in exchange for political favors.

CNN reported that when Menendez skated the first go around for corruption in 2017, he told those going after him, “To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.”

Reaction from social media is pouring in:

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