Dem Senator Hit with 12 New Federal Charges

Dem Senator Hit with 12 New Federal Charges

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife face an expanded set of charges following a new indictment released on Tuesday. The charges, returned by a grand jury in Manhattan, add to the legal troubles for Menendez and his wife, Nadine, along with two New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes.

The indictment comes just before their upcoming trial on existing charges and follows a guilty plea from the fifth defendant, Jose Uribe, who is now cooperating with the government.

This latest indictment marks the third time prosecutors have added charges to the initial bribery charges filed in September. Menendez now faces a dozen new counts, including allegations of serving as an agent of the government of Egypt.

The charges accuse the Menendezes of not only repaying bribe money through checks but also lying about the purpose of these payments. The indictment further alleges obstruction of justice when Nadine Menendez reportedly sold gold bars believed to be bribe payments.

The legal developments come a day after Menendez lost a court battle seeking to suppress evidence, including cash and gold bars found at his home. Menendez dismissed the new indictment as a "flagrant abuse of power" and accused prosecutors of being afraid of the facts. He maintains his innocence and vows to prove it despite the mounting charges.

Menendez, urged to step down from his Senate seat, has refused to do so. The Democratic primary for his seat, scheduled for June, is expected to be contested by either Tammy Murphy, the wife of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, or Democratic Rep. Andy Kim. Recent polls show Kim leading the primary race, highlighting the challenges faced by Menendez, who is in his third term as senator.

Menendez was initially charged with accepting bribes, including gold bars, cash, and a luxury car, in exchange for political favors and alleged efforts to impede a criminal investigation.

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