U.S. Senator Robert Menendez is trailed by reporters after departing the Senate Democratic Caucus, following his arraignment on corruption charges, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
A federal judge on Monday scheduled the trial of Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife Nadine on bribery and corruption charges to begin May 6, 2024.
The couple is charged with taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes” in exchange for official acts taken by Menendez on behalf of three New Jersey business associates.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job [for Nadine], a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the federal indictment alleges.
Menendez, his wife and the trio of businessmen will stand trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The couple is charged with three counts each: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The three other defendants are charged with the first two of those counts.
Menendez insists he is innocent and has refused calls by more than half the Democratic Senate caucus that he resign. He has accused prosecutors of twisting “the normal work of a congressional office,” and claims the allegations are an attack on his wife “for the longstanding friendships she had.”
The indictment alleges that Menendez for years used his position as chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee to benefit the three business associates. It also alleges that the senator “provided sensitive U.S. government information and took other steps that secretly aided the government of Egypt” in exchange for bribes.
Prosecutors said in court Monday that the case involved classified information, and the process of appointing a classified information security officer was underway.
They also revealed that their case would rely in part on the contents of 50 electronic devices, phones, tablets and computers, all of which were obtained through warrants.
A June 2022 FBI raid of Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home resulted in the seizure of $480,000 in cash. Prosecutors said they found some of the money stuffed into coat pockets, and some still in envelopes that were later found to have the businessmen’s fingerprints still on them.
Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a press conference after announcing Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted on corruption charges at the SDNY office in New York City on Sept. 22, 2023.
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