On Thursday, Robert Menendez made a state visit to Washington with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky; It is about more military aid to Ukraine. “Support must be maintained,” wrote the senator from New Jersey, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, one of the most important bodies in American foreign policy. Since Friday, however, Menendez, 69, has been officially charged by the United States with serious corruption for entirely different reasons. That is why even his party friends are leaving him as he has already lost his position.
House Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Menendez would step down as chairman until the matter is resolved. The case is the latest allegation against a corrupt politician. Prosecutors and a judge in U.S. District Court in Southern New York accused him and his wife, Nadine, of “accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” from three businessmen.
He is also said to have served the Egyptian leadership
In return, Menendez used his influence and power to help the Egyptian government protect and enrich these men. The US Justice Department document is 39 pages long with photographs. The images show evidence investigators collected during a search of the home in June last year. Federal police found large sums of cash, gold, a luxury car and expensive furniture, suggesting the Menendez couple had used the money as bribes over the years.
According to investigators, for example, there was $480,000 in bills hidden in envelopes, clothing, closets and the senator’s safe. Stuffed jackets were confiscated and fingerprints of the suspected donor were found on the envelopes. Nadine Menendez’s safety deposit box contained $70,000, and investigators found several gold bars and a Mercedes convertible — all believed to be part of an elaborate bribery scheme.
Prosecutors say the high-ranking politician used his positions to favor three New Jersey business owners and the Egyptian leadership between 2018 and 2022. Among other things, the Egyptians allegedly played a significant role in releasing $300 million in US military aid to Cairo as the ghostwriter of a letter to US senators – and to himself. He also paved the way politically for one of his secret partners in US-Egyptian exports of halal meat and successfully intervened in criminal investigations against business associates.
“You are the miracle worker who makes dreams come true”
For the latter’s help, his wife, Nadine, quickly accepted $15,000 in a restaurant parking lot for the first installment of the vehicle with the star. She praised the ambassador in a text message: “You are a miracle worker who makes dreams come true, I will always remember you.”
The Menendez couple have now been charged with fraud, bribery and extortion. A conviction carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The main defendants deny all allegations; Robert Menendez sees himself as “the victim of an active smear campaign with anonymous sources and innuendos.” In 2015, the son of immigrants from Cuba was previously charged with bribery at the federal level; Among other things, he allegedly paid in deals with a major donor from Florida. However, he was only given a stern warning by the Senate Ethics Committee. A court jury reached no conclusion in 2017 and the Department of Justice dropped the charges.
Menendez was re-elected chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2021. He must now hand it over, at least temporarily, to Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. This time, however, leading Democrats have also called for his full resignation from the Senate. “The facts alleged are so serious,” said New Jersey Governor Bill Murphy, “that they threaten Senator Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of our state.”
Attorney General Matthew Platkin called the allegations against Menendez “deeply troubling.” “Those who use their public office to enrich themselves rather than selflessly serve the public do so at great cost to the public and all public servants.”
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