NJ businessman testifies he bribed Dem senator’s wife with a Mercedes

A New Jersey businessman testified that he bribed a powerful Democrat senator and that he once gave a new Mercedes-Benz to his wife to have an investigation shut down.

On Friday, Jose Uribe described his bribe of Nadine Menendez, the wife of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to a jury in federal court in Manhattan, telling them about the offer of the $60,000 luxury vehicle if she could get her husband to torpedo the criminal probe into his associates.

“She agreed to the terms,” said the star witness in the government’s corruption case against Mr. and Mrs. Menendez, saying that he offered the Mercedes-Benz C-300 to gain the longtime senator’s “power and influence” to “do anything possible to stop and kill” the investigation.

(Video: YouTube/NBC News)

The 57-year-old former insurance agent pleaded guilty in early March and agreed to “cooperate fully” with investigators, according to court filings.

Uribe confessed to making payments for the car “in a manner to conceal my involvement because I knew it was wrong. I knew that giving a car in return for influencing a United States senator to stop a criminal investigation was wrong, and I deeply regret my actions,” the New York Post reported.

The Menendezes “stand accused of accepting the car, more than $150,000 in gold bars, $566,000 in cash payments and other lavish gifts in exchange for favors to Uribe, businessmen Wael Hana and Fred Daibes and the governments of Egypt and Qatar,” according to the outlet.

Menendez, dubbed “gold bar Bob” for the gold bars that were found in his home during an FBI raid of the couple’s home, has refused to resign from the Senate and although he was forced to step down as head of the Foreign Relations Committee, the 70-year-old isn’t about to give up his seat.

Senate Democrats have given Menendez the kid gloves treatment with one notable exception, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) who has slammed his colleague as a “sleazeball” and has called for his resignation.

“Senator Menendez should resign. He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence under our system, but he is not entitled to continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations. I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial,” the old-school Democrat said in a statement last September.

Menendez is still around, prompting the Pennsylvania senator to say it’s “clear that my colleagues want to keep him around.”

Last month, Fetterman ripped Menendez’s defense strategy of blaming his wife during an appearance on CNN.

(Video: CNN)

“And I really can’t imagine who — either it was his idea or he was convinced that blaming your wife, who is suffering from cancer, is really an effective strategy or how that’s going to go over,” Fetterman told anchor Jake Tapper.

Menendez is running as an independent in an effort to save his Senate seat.

“Today, I submitted well above the threshold of signatures required to run for re-election,” he said in a recent social media post. “The people of this great state deserve a leader in Washington with a proven track record of fighting tooth and nail to deliver results, and I intend to keep doing so as an independent Democrat.”

Chris Donaldson

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