A senator from New Jersey and his wife were indicted on federal bribery charges after federal investigators seized $480,000 in cash from their home. Here’s the whole story.
Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey had $480,000 in cash seized from his home in 2022 by federal investigators. The cash was “stuffed into envelopes” hidden in a safe, closets, and clothing.
Federal Bribery Charges
Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on federal bribery charges in New York. The couple is accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” from three New Jersey businessmen.
Corrupt Bribery Agreement
Federal agents called the cash they confiscated “fruits” of a “corrupt bribery agreement” between Menendez, Nadine, and the three businessmen.
The three businessmen are accused of using Menendez’s position as senator to benefit themselves and the government of Egypt. Prosecutors said the couple received “cash, gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz car, and mortgage payments” from them.
The Cash Was for “Emergencies”
Senator Menendez is defending himself, saying the cash came from his “personal savings account.” He claims he withdrew “thousands of dollars in cash” for “emergencies” over the past 30 years.
In a public announcement, Menendez said although it may “seem old-fashioned” to some people, the money he withdrew from his personal savings accounts was based on the income he has “lawfully derived” over the last 30 years.
Confiscation in Cuba
One of the potential “emergencies” the senator and his wife were hoarding the cash for was because of his family’s history of “facing confiscation in Cuba.” Menendez was born in New York, but his parents are from Cuba.
Targeted Because of His Ethnicity
In a public statement, Menendez said, “It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat.” He spoke in English and Spanish when he suggested that the people who wanted him to resign were only after him because of his ethnicity.
This isn’t the first time Menendez has been charged with corruption. In 2015, he was accused of accepting gifts from an eye doctor in Florida in exchange for using the senator’s position to benefit financially and personally.
The charges from 2015 eventually ended in a mistrial because the jury failed to reach a verdict. It wasn’t clear enough to the jury whether they exchanged gifts due to friendship or bribery.
Sometimes Prosecutors Are Wrong
Despite calls for his resignation, Menendez said he’s not going anywhere and is up for “the biggest fight yet.” He said he “firmly believes” he will be “exonerated” once “all the facts are presented.” The senator claimed, “Prosecutors get it wrong sometimes.”
Attorney Abbe Lowell Is Hired
Attorney Abbe Lowell represented Menendez in his previous corruption charges, and he will also represent Menendez in the new charges. Hunter Biden also hired Lowell to represent him on his tax and firearm charges.
How Can He Remain Senator?
Critics on social media were trying to understand how Menendez was “allowed to continue to be a senator” after multiple corruption charges.
It’s Been Going On Too Long
A commenter on a TikTok video explaining Menendez’s charges said he needed to resign. This person said, “He has been allowed to get away with corruption for way too long.”
He Should Be in Jail
Another person on TikTok commented saying Menendez should be “charged, found guilty, and jailed for a very long time.”
Menendez called the charges against him and his wife “an active smear campaign.” He said he will “continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success [he’s] had for the past five decades.” He assured his supporters he was “not going anywhere.”
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