N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez, wife plead not guilty to newest obstruction and bribery charges

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian leave Federal court in New York on September 27^ 2023 after pleading not guilty on bribery charges

On Monday, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine again pleaded not guilty to the latest criminal charges against them in their alleged corruption and bribery case. Sen. Menendez told the judge at his arraignment in downtown Manhattan: “Once again, not guilty, your honor,” with the Senator and his wife leaving the courthouse without speaking to reporters or answering any questions.

A copy of the superseding indictment shows that a federal grand jury in New York charged Menendez and his wife last week with two new counts of obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, bringing the total amount of charges faced by New Jersey’s senior senator to 18.  The FBI alleges that the couple lied about money they received for a new Mercedes convertible and home mortgage payments, with prosecutors said that from June 2022 into 2023, Menendez and his wife Nadine wrote checks that stated they were repaying a loan to businessman Jose Uribe, when in fact no such loan existed. Those checks were presented to the United States Attorney’s Office in an attempt to obstruct justice; Uribe has pleaded guilty in the so-called gold bar corruption case, saying he paid bribes to the senator. He is now cooperating with prosecutors. The new charges allege that the couple was trying to obstruct justice in the weeks before they were charged last September with a variety of crimes.

In a statement, Menendez, 70, maintained his innocence and called last Tuesday’s superseding indictment “a flagrant abuse of power. The government has long known that I learned of and helped repay loans — not bribes — that had been provided to my wife … The government has now falsely alleged a cover-up and obstruction. The latest charge reveals far more about the government than it says about me. It says that the prosecutors are afraid of the facts, scared to subject their charges to the fair-minded scrutiny of a jury, and unconstrained by any sense of justice or fair play. It says, once and for all, that they will stop at nothing in their zeal to get me. These prosecutors are trying to get me to give in simply by making wild allegations again and again, without actually proving anything.”

After his arrest last fall, Menendez was forced to relinquish his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but said he would not resign from Congress. Menendez has held public office continuously since 1986, when he was elected mayor of Union City, New Jersey.  Former Gov. Jon Corzine appointed Menendez to the Senate seat he vacated in 2006 when he became governor.

The senator and his wife have pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts; a May trial has been scheduled.

Editorial credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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