Additional charges have been leveled against Sen. Bob Menendez, who was indicted last month on allegations of corruption and bribery.
A superseding indictment, unsealed Thursday, further charges the New Jersey Democrat with having “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”
Menendez served as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before stepping down from the committee in the wake of last month’s indictment. He was originally charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion.
Prosecutors have now added an additional charge of “conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent,” alleging that between 2018 and 2022 the senator and his wife accepted bribes from Egyptian businessman Wael Hana in exchange for “his influence and power and breach his official duty in ways that benefited the Government of Egypt.”
Among the alleged bribes accepted by Menendez and his wife are stacks of cash, solid bars of gold, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible. The original indictment included photos of envelopes of cash that had been stuffed into the pockets of a jacket bearing Menendez’s name and the Senate logo.
Hana, who has also been indicted by federal authorities, is a longtime friend of the senator’s wife Nadine Menendez. A search of Hana’s phone “revealed thousands of text messages between [the pair] … many of which Nadine Menendez deleted from her own cellphone.”
According to the indictment, Hana and Nadine Menendez “worked to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to [Sen. Menendez] for the purpose of establishing and solidifying a corrupt agreement in which Hana.”
In exchange for bribes from Hana, Menedez reportedly wielded his influence to help lift bans on arms sales, covertly drafted or “ghost wrote” letters lobbying other government officials on behalf of Egypt, helped Hana secure a lucrative monopoly on Halal exports to Egypt over objections from the USDA, and secured the release of funds to Egypt’s government.
In one instance, Menendez sent a message to his wife instructing her to let Hana know that he would sign off on “this sale to Egypt today. Egypt: 46,000 120MM Target Practice Rounds and 10,000 Rounds Tank Ammunition: $99 million.” Mrs. Menendez forwarded the message to Hana, who then forwarded it to an Egyptian official, who replied “👍.”
Alongside Menendez, his wife, and Hana, two other New Jersey businessmen are charged in the alleged corruption scheme: Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes. Authorities claim that Menendez used his position as a powerful political figure to interfere in a federal investigation into Uribe, and attempted to influence the appointment of a N.J. Attorney General who could be persuaded into aiding in disrupting a separate investigation into Daibes.
Menendez has so far refused to resign from his Senate seat despite calls from dozens of Democrats.
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