New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D) has been indicted by federal prosecutors, and now faces a suite of charges alleging that he and a group of associates — including his wife Nadine Menendez, who was also charged — corruptly used his powerful political position for personal enrichment.
The thirty-nine-page indictment, made public on Friday, accuses the longtime Democratic lawmaker of engaging in a "corrupt relationship" with three New Jersey businessmen, accepting "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes" in exchange for protecting and enriching the trio, as well as the Egyptian government. Prosecutors allege that Menendez, who is up for reelection in 2024, accepted cash, gold bars, a luxury vehicle, and mortgage payments, and in exchange offered to provide sensitive information to Egypt and influence domestic criminal investigations that threatened his associates. Prosecutors claim to have found more than half a million dollars in cash and gold in Menendez's home following a law enforcement search, including large sums of money tucked into pockets of the senator's jacket.
While serving constituents "is part of any legislator’s job," Menendez was "doing those things for certain people — the people who were bribing him and his wife" Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Damian Williams alleged during a press conference.
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"This is the second set of corruption charges levied against Menendez by the Justice Department in a decade," CNN reported. In 2017 a hung jury was unable to convict the senator in a separate trial for a different series of allegedly criminal exchanges of gifts and favors between Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida ophthalmologist who was later jailed — and subsequently pardoned by then-President Donald Trump — for an unrelated fraud conviction.
Menendez on Friday enthusiastically denied the allegations, claiming they were the work of "forces behind the scenes" while blaming the "excesses" of prosecutors who "misrepresented" his congressional duties.
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