Obstruction of justice charges filed against Sen. Bob Menendez in bribery case

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faced charges on Tuesday that accused him and his wife of conspiring to obstruct justice in their bribery case.

The indictment against Menendez and his wife, Nadine, has been upgraded, increasing the total number of federal charges against the former influential leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to 18.

Just days after one of Menendez’s co-defendants, New Jersey businessman Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the probe, a new indictment has been issued.

According to the document, Nadine Menendez met with Uribe in 2022 after federal investigators had issued subpoenas to obtain information about the payments he had made for her luxury car, which prosecutors claimed were part of a bribery scheme. During the meeting, Menendez inquired about Uribe’s response to the investigators. He stated that he would inform them that it was a loan, to which she responded positively, as stated in the indictment.

According to the indictment, the senator initially claimed through his lawyer that he had no knowledge of the car payments or mortgage payments received from another businessman, which were allegedly part of a bribery scheme. However, later on, the senator’s attorney informed investigators that he had discovered these payments were actually loans. The indictment states that the senator was well aware that these payments were not loans, but rather bribe payments.

On Tuesday, the senator expressed his strong condemnation of the new charges, describing them as a clear abuse of power.

According to him, the government has been aware for quite some time that he discovered and assisted in repaying loans, which were not bribes, that were given to his wife. He criticized the prosecutors, labeling them as “overzealous” and having a personal vendetta against him.

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“I will prove my innocence, no matter how many charges they continue to pile on,” he added confidently.

Bob and Nadine Menendez’s attorneys have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Prosecutors claim that Menendez and his wife leveraged his political power to personally benefit from bribes, which allegedly included a variety of illicit payments such as cash, gold bars, contributions towards their home mortgage, compensation for a job with little or no actual work, as well as luxury items of significant value.

They have been charged three times since September, with the superseding indictment being the latest one.

Both individuals have entered pleas of not guilty.

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