Prosecutors Accuse Sen. Bob Menendez of Desperate Attempt to Shift Blame onto Wife in Bribery Trial

Prosecutors Accuse Sen. Bob Menendez of Desperate Attempt to Shift Blame onto Wife in Bribery Trial

In a high-stakes bribery trial, federal prosecutors have vehemently argued against Sen. Bob Menendez’s attempt to shift blame onto his wife, Nadine Menendez. The prosecutors labeled the senator’s strategy as a desperate plea to evade responsibility for his alleged involvement in a sprawling bribery scheme. Menendez faces charges of accepting gold bars and cash in exchange for favors to businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

During the closing statements delivered over two days in Manhattan federal court, prosecutor Paul Monteleoni emphasized that there was no way Sen. Menendez could have been unaware of his wife’s actions. Monteleoni dismissed the defense’s claim that Nadine had “sidelined” the senator from the scheme and stashed the illicit items in their home without his knowledge. The prosecutor highlighted the discovery of $150,000 worth of gold and envelopes filled with cash during an FBI raid in June 2022.

Monteleoni also referenced a witness’s testimony, which described how Sen. Menendez would summon his wife with a small bell and affectionately call her “mon amour” (my love) on their patio. The prosecutor argued that this evidence demonstrated Menendez’s control and involvement in the alleged bribery plot, stating that he was not a mere puppet manipulated by his wife.

If convicted on the bribery charges and charges of acting as an illegal foreign agent of Egypt and Qatar, Menendez could face a lengthy prison sentence. Throughout the two-month-long trial, prosecutors presented 30 witnesses, including New Jersey insurance broker Jose Uribe, who testified that he bought Nadine a new Mercedes convertible in exchange for her husband’s interference in state criminal probes.

Prosecutors further alleged that Menendez pressured the Agriculture Department to protect his co-defendant Wael Hana’s monopoly on approving halal meat exports to Egypt. In return, Menendez allegedly received gold bars and secured a no-show job for Nadine, with an annual salary of $120,000.

Adam Fee, Menendez’s defense attorney, countered the prosecution’s arguments, accusing them of ignoring evidence that contradicted their narrative. Fee claimed that Menendez’s actions were lawful, normal, and beneficial to his constituents and the country. He ridiculed the repeated use of the term “bribe” by the prosecution, emphasizing that the evidence merely showed the senator leveraging his influence for the benefit of his associates.

Sen. Menendez, who has maintained his innocence and did not testify, sat calmly in court while his lawyer presented the closing statement. His daughter, Alicia Menendez, an anchor at MSNBC, observed the proceedings from the first row of the courtroom gallery.

The defense attorney is expected to conclude his closing statement on Wednesday morning, followed by statements from lawyers representing the co-defendants, Wael Hana and real estate mogul Fred Daibes. Prosecutors will then have an opportunity for a final rebuttal.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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