A trial begins against the US senator accused of bribery and extortion

A trial begins against the US senator accused of bribery and extortion

NEW YORK, May 14, 2024 (BSS/AFP) – Jury selection began on Monday in the
trial of a powerful US senator accused of corruption after gold bars and
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash were found at his home.

Senator Robert Menendez, a 70-year-old Democrat from New Jersey, and his wife
Nadine is accused of extortion, obstruction of justice and accepting bribes
to grant favors to businessmen with connections to Egypt and Qatar.

Menendez, the former chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Committee, is on trial in federal court in Manhattan with two of the
businessmen – Egyptian-American Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, a real estate agent

A third businessman, insurance broker Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty to bribery
filed charges in March and has been assisting investigators.

Nadine Menendez, 57, will be tried separately in July.

Jury selection will take place on a second day on Tuesday, with the trial expected
According to the judge overseeing the case, this will take between five and six weeks

The most serious charges could carry a prison sentence of 20 years

In the Egypt-related case, Menendez is accused of taking bribes to use his own
power and influence to enrich his co-conspirators and benefit the government
of Egypt.

Menendez, who has rejected calls for his resignation, is said to have helped Hana
protect its monopoly on US exports of halal food products to Egypt.

The senator is also accused of helping to provide US military aid to the United States
government in Cairo.

In the Qatar case, Menendez is said to have received bribes to assist Daibes
was seeking millions of dollars in investments from a fund with ties to the
oil-rich state.

During a raid on Menendez’s home in New Jersey, FBI agents almost…
$500,000 in cash hidden in the house.

Gold bars worth approximately $150,000 and a luxury Mercedes-Benz convertible,
donated by one of the businessmen, were also recovered.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty and said he withheld the large sum of money
his home out of habit, due to the history of repossession his family faced
in Cuba.

Senator since 2006 and before that a member of the House of Representatives
Menendez has been a Democratic mainstay in Congress for fourteen years

Menendez, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba, was
indicted on bribery and corruption charges in 2015, but that case ended in a case
nullity in 2017.

Menendez is up for re-election in November. A number of fellow Democrats,
including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have urged him to step aside, but
Menendez has suggested he could run as an independent candidate.

Democrats enter the November elections with a narrow 51-49 majority