U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez Pleads Not Responsible to Pocketing Bribes in a Extensive-Ranging Corruption Case

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez Pleads Not Responsible to Pocketing Bribes in a Extensive-Ranging Corruption Case

By Larry Neumeister, Alanna Durkin Richer and Jake Offenhartz

Menendez led his spouse, Nadine, who additionally pleaded not responsible within the case, by the hand out of the courtroom after the temporary listening to within the decrease Manhattan federal courthouse days after prosecutors unsealed an indictment alleging huge corruption by the Democrat. The couple left the courthouse clutching arms, and Menendez ignored shouted questions from reporters earlier than giving a tight-lipped smile as he stepped right into a automobile.

A defiant Menendez has mentioned allegations that he abused his energy to line his pockets are baseless. He has mentioned he’s assured he will likely be exonerated and has no intention of leaving the Senate.

Nonetheless, requires Menendez to resign continued to mount on Wednesday with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, saying “he ought to step down.” Greater than half of Senate Democrats have now mentioned that Menendez ought to resign, together with fellow New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, in remarks hours after Menendez’s courtroom look, didn’t name for Menendez to resign and mentioned Menendez would deal with his Democratic colleagues on Thursday. “Everyone knows that senators — for senators, there’s a a lot a lot greater customary. And clearly, if you learn the indictment, Sen. Menendez fell manner, manner under that customary,” mentioned Schumer, D-N.Y.

Menendez spoke in courtroom solely when every defendant stood to acknowledge that they understood the costs towards them. A lawyer entered the not responsible plea for Menendez, who was compelled to step down as chairman of the highly effective Senate International Relations Committee after being indicted.

The senator was ordered launched on a $100,000 bond, and he should give up any private passports however will likely be allowed to maintain an official passport that may permit him to journey outdoors the U.S. for presidency enterprise. The choose ordered him to not have contact outdoors of the presence of legal professionals along with his co-defendants apart from his spouse.

He can also’t have contact outdoors of the presence of legal professionals with members of his Senate employees, International Relations Committee employees or political advisers who’ve private information in regards to the information of the case, although it is unclear how these restrictions would impression his work.

It’s the second corruption case in a decade towards Menendez, whose final trial involving completely different allegations ended with jurors failing to succeed in a verdict in 2017.

Authorities say they discovered practically $500,000 in money, a lot of it hidden in clothes and closets, in addition to greater than $100,000 in gold bars in a search of the New Jersey house Menendez, 69, shares along with his spouse.

Charged alongside Menendez is his spouse, who prosecutors say performed a key position in accumulating lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} value of bribes from three New Jersey businessmen searching for assist from the longtime lawmaker. An legal professional for Nadine Menendez entered a not responsible plea for her on Wednesday, and she or he was ordered to be launched on $250,000 bond secured by her Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, house.

Prosecutors allege repeated actions by Menendez to profit the authoritarian authorities of Egypt. They are saying Menendez additionally tried to intrude in legal investigations involving associates, in a single case pushing to put in in New Jersey a federal prosecutor who he believed he may affect to derail a case.

Two of the businessmen, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, additionally have been arraigned and pleaded not responsible. They didn’t converse to reporters as they left the courthouse Wednesday, and their attorneys additionally declined to remark.

The third, Wael Hana, pleaded not responsible on Tuesday to costs together with conspiracy to commit bribery. Hana was arrested at Kennedy Airport on Tuesday after returning voluntarily from Egypt to face the costs, and he was ordered freed pending trial.
Menendez, in his first public remarks after final week’s indictment, mentioned on Monday that the money present in his house was drawn from his private financial savings accounts through the years and that he saved it readily available for emergencies.

One of many envelopes full of money discovered at his house, nevertheless, bore Daibes’ DNA and was marked with the true property developer’s return deal with, in line with prosecutors.

Prosecutors mentioned Hana promised to place Menendez’s spouse on his firm’s payroll in a low- or no-show job in trade for Menendez utilizing his influential publish to facilitate overseas navy gross sales and financing to Egypt. Prosecutors allege Hana additionally paid $23,000 towards her house mortgage, wrote $30,000 checks to her consulting firm, promised her envelopes of money, despatched her train gear and purchased among the gold bars that have been discovered within the couple’s house.

The indictment alleges repeated actions by Menendez to profit Egypt, regardless of U.S. authorities misgivings over the nation’s human rights document that lately have prompted Congress to connect restrictions on help.

Prosecutors, who detailed conferences and dinners between Menendez and Egyptian officers, say Menendez gave delicate U.S. authorities data to Egyptian officers and ghostwrote a letter to fellow senators encouraging them to elevate a maintain on $300 million in help to Egypt, one of many prime recipients of U.S. navy help.

Prosecutors have accused Menendez of pressuring a U.S. agricultural official to cease opposing a profitable deal that gave Hana’s firm a monopoly over certifying that imported meat met spiritual requirements.

Richer reported from Boston.

Up to date September 27, 2023 at 3:25 p.m. ET with newest particulars.