NEW YORK: US Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and his wife have been charged with bribery offences in connection with their relationship with three New Jersey businessmen, federal prosecutors said on Friday.
The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan accused the defendants of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich the businessmen, and benefit the government of Egypt.
Prosecutors said the bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a job with minimal requirements, a luxury vehicle and other things of value.
Menendez, the chair of the influential US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and his wife Nadine Menendez, who has been married to the senator since 2020, face three criminal counts each.
Menendez has been an important ally to fellow Democrat President Joe Biden as he has sought to reassert US influence on the world stage, something particularly crucial as Biden rallies support for congressional aid to Ukraine and Washington looks for ways to push back against a rising China.
Menendez and his four co-defendants are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court on Sept 27, a spokesman for the attorney’s office in Manhattan said. Menendez is up for re-election next year, and an investigation could complicate Democrats’ effort to expand their slim 51-49 seat majority in the 100-member Senate.
Menendez and his wife face three criminal counts each: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2023