Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to bribery 

September 27, 2023

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife, Nadine Menendez, each pleaded not guilty to bribery charges in federal court in Manhattan Wednesday.

Following his plea the Senator was released on conditions of $100,000 personal recognizance bond, pretrial supervision, and a requirement to surrender his personal passports but not his official one, meaning he’ll be allowed to travel for official business and with prior notice to pretrial services.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York indicted the couple on Friday, along with three businessmen, accusing the Senator and his wife of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for political influence.

Prosecutors say the bribes included gold bars, cash, home mortgage payments, a luxury vehicle and compensation for a “low-or-no-show job”—Nadine Menendez was allegedly put on the payroll of New Jersey businessman Wael “Will” Hana, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that a “corrupt relationship” between Sen. Menendez and three businessmen, one of whom was Hana, began around 2018 when Nadine Menendez “worked to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials” to her husband. The agreement called for Hana, with the help of the two other businessmen, to provide bribes to the couple in exchange for the Senator’s using his position to benefit the Egyptian government, Hana and others.

The Menendezes’ morning court appearance came hours after 40-year-old Hana was arrested, arraigned and also pleaded not guilty Tuesday night.

The two other businessmen named in the indictment, Jose Uribe, 56, and Fred Daibes, 66, also appeared in court Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Uribe was charged with insurance fraud related to a trucking company he brokered. Daibes, along with all five other co-defendants, is accused of having “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to commit honest services wire fraud.”

More than 30 Democratic Senators have so far called on Menendez to leave office, or three-fifths of the entire caucus, including fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has also called for Menendez to resign, along with numerous other Democrats at both the state level and in Congress.

Menendez, who has stepped back from his position as Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday defended his presumption of innocence and insisted he would not resign from the Senate altogether.

If convicted, each defendant could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each bribery count, and 20 years in prison for each fraud count.

PHOTO: Menendez in the halls of Congress Tuesday

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