Federal prosecutors in Menendez bribery case say found gold bars, hidden cash in senator's home
The senator was also indicted on federal corruption charges in 2015.
Prosecutors said Friday morning they have indicted New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife on federal bribery charges.
They alleged in a press conference shortly after the charges were announced the Menendezs took bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car for corrupt acts, including having the senator, who leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, use his influence to benefit the authoritarian government of Egypt.
The indictment, out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, alleges that Menendez provided sensitive and non-public U.S. government information to Egyptian government officials and took other steps to secretly help the country.
Those steps including ghost-writing a letter on behalf of Egypt pushing other senators to lift a hold on $300 million in aid to the country, according to the Associated Press.
A search of the couple’s home turned up $100,000 in gold bars and $480,000 in hidden cash, prosecutors said.
Messages were left for Menendez’s Senate spokesperson and his political consultant. David Schertler, a lawyer for Menendez’s wife, Nadine, said she “denies any criminal conduct and will vigorously contest these charges in court,” the wire service also reports.
Menendez will now have to step down as chairman of the committee.
The senator and his wife, Nadine, are charged with three counts: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, according to CNBC.com.
The charges are also allegedly in connection with three businessmen in their state – Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes. They are charged with the first two of the three criminal counts the Menendezs face.
Requests for comment with lawyers for Daibes, Hana and Uribe were not immediately returned.
Menendez is up for reelection in 2024 and has denied the charges.
This is the second time the Justice Department has filed corruption charges against Menendez, the first coming in 2015.