Home News Jury selection continues in N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez’s gold bar bribery trial

Jury selection continues in N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez’s gold bar bribery trial


A Manhattan judge narrowed down the jury pool in the gold bar bribery trial of N.J. Sen. Robert Menendez, dismissing three dozen potential jurors late Monday as a second group of 50 people were brought in.

Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday for the federal trial of Menendez and N.J. businessmen Wael Hana and Fred Danies. Menendez’s wife, Nadine, will face a separate trial in July, after Manhattan Federal Court Judge Sidney Stein severed her case so she could deal with a medical condition.

Menendez, who faces 18 bribery and obstruction charges, is accused of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Egypt as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and of abusing his position to advance Qatari interests in exchange for gold bullion bars, flashy watches and Formula 1 tickets. He denies the charges.

Federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash stuffed in closets and clothing and more than $100,000 worth of gold bars, when they searched Menendez’s home last year, according to charging documents.

The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks.

The feds alleged that in 2018, Robert Menendez backed military sales and financing for Egypt in exchange for Hana putting Nadine on his company’s payroll. In other deals, the Menendezes accepted gold bars and home mortgage payments in exchange for favors, according to investigators.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is shown meeting with Egyptian officials in 2018.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York

New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is shown meeting with Egyptian officials in 2018. (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York)

Jose Uribe, a former N.J. insurance broker,pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiring to bribe the senator in exchange for the pol’s help quashing criminal investigations into two associates, wire fraud, tax evasion, obstruction of justice and related charges.

FILE - Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. The New Jersey businessman has pleaded guilty to trying to bribe U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. Uribe entered the plea in Manhattan federal court on Friday.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. The New Jersey businessman has pleaded guilty to trying to bribe U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Uribe has agreed to cooperate against the senator and testify against him.

Court papers said Menendez’s relationship with the businessmen started in 2018, less than a year after the Democrat senator beat separate corruption charges. His wife had been friends with Hana for many years, according to the feds.

Menendez is accused of intervening in an insurance fraud probe connected to Uribe, and recommending the appointment of a U.S. attorney in New Jersey who he believed would stall a criminal investigation into Daibes.

He’s also accused of pressuring a U.S. Agriculture Department official to protect an arrangement giving Hana’s company an exclusive monopoly on halal exports from the U.S. to Egypt. Before securing the monopoly, Hana had no experience with the halal certification, court papers allege.

In March, he was hit with new obstruction charges — that he lied to the feds by claiming through his lawyers he believed thousands of dollars in bribes given to his wife, Nadine Menendez, were loans.

Menendez, who’s been N.J.’s senator since 2006, was up for reelection this year but has pulled out of the state’s June 4 Democratic Senate primary. Rep. Andy Kim is expected to win that race by a lopsided margin after First Lady Tammy Murphy pulled the plug on her campaign.

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