Federal prosecutors on Thursday slapped Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) with a superseding indictment, accusing the U.S. Senator of acting as a foreign agent by accepting bribes on behalf of a foreign government—Egypt.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York initially indicted Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez, and three businessmen in September, accusing the couple of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for political influence.
According to federal prosecutors, 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 two other businessmen named in the indictment, Jose Uribe, 56, and Fred Daibes, 66, also appeared in court the same day as the Menendezes.
According to the initial indictment, Uribe was charged with insurance fraud related to a trucking company he brokered. Daibes, along with all five other defendants, is accused of having “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to commit honest services wire fraud.”
The superseding indictment alleges that the Senator “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”
Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have called on Menendez to leave office, including fellow New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Menendez, who has stepped back from his position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has defended his presumption of innocence and insisted he would not resign from the his seat altogether.
According to the Department of Justice, if a defendant is found guilty of acting as a foreign agent, the punishment is imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.