Health Management

Menendez, Facing Bribery Charges, Pleads Not Guilty


Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey pleaded not responsible on Wednesday to bribery costs, standing earlier than a Justice of the Peace decide in Manhattan federal court docket, his spouse, Nadine, seated close by.

About three hours earlier, the Menendezes had held arms as they pushed via a crowd of journalists and entered the courthouse with out answering questions. A lone protester shouted “Resign!”

Ms. Menendez, 56, additionally entered a not-guilty plea for her position within the bribery conspiracy, which prosecutors stated concerned weapons gross sales and help to the federal government of Egypt. In a 39-page indictment unsealed final week, additionally they described efforts by Mr. Menendez, a powerful Democrat, to sturdy arm prosecutors in New Jersey in an try to affect legal investigations.

In change, prosecutors stated, the couple accepted tons of of 1000’s of {dollars}, bars of gold bullion and a Mercedes-Benz convertible — bribes given by three New Jersey businessmen who have been additionally charged within the yearslong corruption scheme.

One of many businessmen, Wael Hana, an American citizen born in Egypt, was arrested Tuesday morning at Kennedy International Airport after he voluntarily flew to the US from Egypt to face federal costs in Manhattan, his lawyer stated. He pleaded not responsible hours later, surrendered his passport and was granted launch on a $5 million private recognizance bond.

The 2 different businessmen charged with bribery, Fred Daibes, a New Jersey actual property developer, and Jose Uribe, who works within the trucking trade, additionally pleaded not responsible on Wednesday. .

The conspiracy as alleged by prosecutors was far-reaching and depicted a web of corruption that even one of many senator’s closest allies, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, referred to as shocking and disturbing.

Mr. Menendez, 69, has stated in latest days that he was confident that he would be exonerated as soon as the info have been totally offered, and he has cautioned towards a rush to judgment. He has rejected calls from a growing number of top Democrats, together with Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Mr. Booker, to step down.

The scheme concerned funds by Mr. Hana, Mr. Daibes and Mr. Uribe to Mr. Menendez and his spouse in change for the senator’s efforts to direct federal help and weapons gross sales to Egypt, based on the indictment.

The plot additionally benefited Mr. Hana’s halal meat business, prosecutors stated, which ultimately gained a contract to be the only entity worldwide permitted by Egypt to certify that imported meals merchandise had been ready based on Islamic legislation. Mr. Hana used his firm, based on the indictment, to funnel bribes to the Menendezes.

The New Jersey-based firm, IS EG Halal, reported little to no earnings till April 2019, when the Egyptian authorities gave it unique rights to certify meat coming from the US, though Mr. Hana had no expertise within the trade, state and federal information present. Till then, 4 firms had divided the work.

“Looks as if halal went via,” Ms. Menendez stated in a textual content to the senator, the indictment stated. “It is likely to be a incredible 2019 all the way in which round.”

When a high-level U.S. Division of Agriculture official publicly objected to the monopoly, involved that it may enhance the price of meals in Egypt and disrupt U.S. markets, Mr. Menendez tried to silence the official, the indictment stated.

Mr. Menendez can also be accused of intervening in legal investigations involving folks tied to the Egyptian scheme.

Investigators discovered $550,000 in money, 13 bars of gold bullion and the Mercedes throughout a June 2022 search of a secure deposit field in Ms. Menendez’s title and the couple’s dwelling in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

The fees got here after a prolonged investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors within the Southern District of New York. A lot of the alleged exercise occurred in New Jersey. However prosecutors famous that components of the conspiracy, together with a dinner assembly and gross sales of gold in Manhattan, and using a checking account first opened within the Bronx, happened throughout the Southern District’s jurisdiction.

“My workplace is firmly dedicated to rooting out corruption, with out concern or favor, and with none regard to partisan politics,” Damian Williams, the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District, stated in an announcement. “We are going to proceed to take action.”

Mr. Menendez was charged in 2015 with comparable, however unrelated, corrupt acts by federal prosecutors in New Jersey. His trial in Newark lasted 9 weeks, however the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. In January 2018, the Justice Department declined to retry him after a judge dismissed essentially the most critical costs.

Prosecutors say the corruption scheme specified by the brand new indictment started the next month.

Michael D. Regan and Wesley Parnell contributed reporting.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button