New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has been hit with federal corruption charges related to a years-long scheme in which he allegedly accepted bribes — including gold bars — in exchange for helping three businessmen and the country of Egypt, officials announced Friday.
The Democrat, 69 — and his wife, Nadine Menendez — were charged with taking hundreds of thousands in bribes, according to a Manhattan federal indictment.
This is his second time facing federal corruption charges.
When the feds raided Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, they found “the fruits” of his “corrupt bribery agreement” including a 2019 Mercedes C-Class, at least 13 gold bars, and $566,000 in cash “stuffed in envelopes.”
The feds say Menendez also received mortgage payments and paid for a low-show or no-show job and home furnishings.
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Another $70,000 in cash was found in Nadine’s safe deposit box, the indictment claims.
In exchange, Menendez — whose New Jersey federal corruption trial ended with a hung jury in 2017 — used his office to help and shield three Garden State businessmen, co-defendants Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, the court papers claim.
“The indictment alleges that … [the] senator and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for Senator Menendez using his power and influence to protect and to enrich those businessmen and to benefit the government,” Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams told reporters at a news conference announcing the indictment.
From 2018 through 2022, Menendez provided “substantial military aid to Egypt” including handing over sensitive information from the US government and annual grants of over $1 billion in foreign military financing, the indictment claims.
Williams said Menendez used “power and influence” – including his post on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – to benefit the government of Egypt, including by allegedly providing “sensitive nonpublic US government information to Egyptian officials.”
Menendez also tried to interfere in federal probes of Uribe and Daibes to help protect them from criminal charges, including by recommending someone for New Jersey US attorney — the same office that prosecuted him starting in 2015 — that he thought he could have sway over in the probe of Daibes, the indictment claims.
Williams pointed out a message on Menendez’ official Senate website, which states, in part, that “he cannot compel an agency to act in someone’s favor … he cannot influence matters involving a private business. It says he cannot get involved in criminal matters, or cases, period.”
“But we allege behind the scenes, Senator Menendez was doing those things for certain people, the people who were bribing him and his wife,” Williams charged.
The US Attorney added that the investigation was “very much ongoing.”
“We’re not done,” he said. “And I want to encourage anyone with information to come forward and to come forward quickly they can do that by reaching out, the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
In a lengthy statement, Menendez claimed he had been falsely accused and the victim of “an active smear campaign.”
NJ Sen. Menendez and wife are indicted on bribery charges (nypost.com)