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Sen. Menendez's wife hit, killed pedestrian in 2018, co-defendant allegedly replaced Mercedes

Nadine Menendez was "not at fault" for the crash, the Bogota Police Department report states.

Published: October 5, 2023 8:08am

The soon-to-be wife of Sen. Bob Menendez hit and killed a pedestrian in 2018, and two businessmen who are now co-defendants in the bribery charges involving the New Jersey Democrat lawmaker and Nadine Menendez were involved in replacing it with another Mercedes, according to court documents and official records. 

The accident occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2018, in Bogota, N.J., and resulted in the near-instant death of 49-year-old Richard Koop outside of his apartment after he got out of an Uber, "The New York Times," reported Wednesday.

Nadine Menendez, who started dating the senator in February 2018 and married him in October 2020, was "not at fault" for the crash, the Bogota Police Department report states, according to "The Bergen Record," a local paper. "Mr. Koop was jaywalking and did not cross the street at an intersection or in a marked crosswalk."

The 39-page indictment of Bob Menendez, Nadine Menendez and her friend, Egyptian-American businessman Wael Hana, and former New Jersey insurance broker Jose Uribe states that the senator's then-future wife was "involved in a car accident in or about December 2018 that left her without a car" after her black Mercedes-Benz sedan was severely damaged in the collision.

Prosecutors said Nadine Menendez texted Hana multiple times over the next month at least about how she did not have a car. Around January 2019, Sen. Menendez agreed to attempt to intervene with an unnamed official "to influence the prosecution of the New Jersey Defendant in exchange for a car." 

The indictment further states that Sen. Menendez agreed to intervene in an investigation of an associate of Uribe, who was close to Hana. In April, Uribe provided Nadine Menendez with money for a downpayment on a $60,000 Mercedes convertible and he then ensured the monthly payments were met for the car, prosecutors stated. 

A fifth co-defendant in the case, Fred Daibes, does not appear to have been involved in the scheme. 

All co-defendants pleaded not guilty last week. Sen. Menendez stepped down from his role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month. He is facing calls from within his own party to resign from his position as a senator but has remained defiant.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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