Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat, and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, have been indicted on corruption charges, marking the second time in a decade that Menendez has faced such accusations. The charges involve allegations that the couple accepted bribes, including cash, gold, mortgage payments, and a Mercedes-Benz, from three New Jersey businessmen. They are accused of maintaining a “corrupt relationship” with these businessmen, which, according to federal prosecutors in New York, was used to protect and enrich the businessmen and benefit the government of Egypt.
The indictment outlines a series of alleged corrupt activities, including Menendez’s use of his Senate influence to provide nonpublic information to Egypt and his pressure on a senior U.S. Agriculture Department official. It also details how the Menendezes accepted significant amounts of cash, concealed in envelopes and clothing, and more than $100,000 in gold bars. Nadine Menendez allegedly provided two one-kilogram gold bars to a jeweler to be sold, falsely claiming they came from her mother.
Menendez’s son, Rep. Rob Menendez, expressed confidence in his father’s integrity and dedication to his constituents, while Menendez himself called the allegations baseless and stated that he would remain focused on working for the people of New Jersey.
This marks the second time Senator Menendez has faced corruption charges; he previously faced a trial in 2018 on similar allegations but was not convicted. However, this new indictment raises fresh accusations and legal challenges for the senator and his wife.
The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife conspired to commit bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion under the color of official right. It also accuses the three New Jersey businessmen involved of conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud. Federal prosecutors emphasized that the investigation is ongoing, indicating that further developments may occur in the case.
Menendez is expected to step down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, following Senate Democratic Conference Rules, which require any committee chair charged with a felony to relinquish their position. This will allow the most senior eligible Democratic member to serve as acting chair.