Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Prosecutor calls Bob Menendez corrupt in opening statements of bribery case

By 37ci3 May16,2024



Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., abused his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to “put greed first,” he said. Menendezbribery trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told a panel of 12 jurors and six prosecutors in New York that Menendez, a senior senator from New Jersey, was “powerful but also corrupt.”

“For years, he betrayed the people he was supposed to serve by accepting bribes.

Menendez accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes — some are in the form of gold bars — in exchange for official acts as a United States senator.

“This was not politics as usual. This was politics for profit,” Pomerantz said.

There is Menendez he pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces decades in prison.

Her attorney, Avi Weitzman, told jurors during opening statements that Pomerantz’s accusations were “extraordinarily false.”

“He didn’t break the law,” Weitzman said. “There won’t be a single material proof that the senator took a bribe. There is an innocent explanation for gold and cash.”

Weitzman said Menendez didn’t know his wife owned the gold bars and jurors shouldn’t convict someone they lived with. Nadine Menendez is charged in the scheme and will be sentenced at a later date due to her health issues.

“The real question for you is: What did Bob know?” Weitzman said.

Prosecutors said Menendez and his wife took bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for his help in various matters. Two of the businessmen – Fred Daibes and Wael Hana – have pleaded not guilty and are being tried with Menendez. Third, Jose Uribe, admitted his guilt this year and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Pomerantz said Wednesday that Uribe will provide jurors with an “inside look” at the scheme.

Attorneys for Daibes and Hana will make opening statements Thursday.

The 2023 indictment alleges that it was Daibes who gave the gold bars to Menendez and his wife, and that after having dinner with Daibes, Menendez Googled “price per pound of gold.”

Weitzman told the jury that Menendez looked up the term because it was common for his wife’s family to have gold bars and he had to sell some for “legal reasons.”

Prosecutors said Menendez made favorable statements about Qatar and “provided sensitive information to the U.S. government” to help Daibes receive a multimillion-dollar investment from a company affiliated with the country and “took other steps that covertly assisted the Egyptian government.” Return from Hana for a bribe.

The indictment alleges that when federal investigators searched Menendez’s New Jersey home, $480,000 cash “most of them were stuffed in envelopes and hidden in clothes, closets and safes”.

The indictment further alleges that the couple receivedgold barshome mortgage payments, compensation for low or no work, luxury cars and other valuables such as jewelry and sports equipment.

Menendez denied any wrongdoing and said the money was all his. “I withdrew thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I had held for 30 years, for emergencies and the date my family faced confiscation in Cuba,” he said.

The trial, which took place about two blocks from where former President Donald Trump was held is judgedexpected to last five to seven weeks.

Menendez resigned as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee shortly after he was indicted in September. He has faced numerous calls to resign from members of his own party, including Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Menendez announced in March that he would does not participate in the re-election As a Democrat, he left the door open for a possible run as an independent this year only if acquitted.

The trial is the second time Menendez, who became a senator in 2006, has been tried on federal charges. He was He was charged in 2015 by illegally accepting favors from a Florida eye doctor, including flights on a private jet, stays at a five-star hotel in Paris, and more than $750,000 in political contributions to him and the Democratic Party. Case ended in controversy In 2017, after the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. Prosecutors ultimately decided not to retry him.



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