U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams laid out the case against Menendez, stating: “The senator and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for Sen. Menendez using his power and influence to protect and to enrich those businessmen and to benefit the government of Egypt.”
Both Menendez and his wife have been charged with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, conspiracy to commit bribery, and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. In addition, Sen. Menendez is facing charges of attempting to influence an attorney general’s investigation of one of his co-defendants’ relatives and attempting to influence the federal prosecution of a different co-defendant via the appointment of a U.S. attorney.
According to the indictment, investigators found $480,000 worth of cash hidden in clothes and envelopes in a safe deposit box owned by Nadine Menendez. Some of the envelopes containing cash had the fingerprints and DNA of Daibes and his driver on them.
In addition, they found $100,000 worth of gold bars, which the couple received from two of the businessmen. Nadine reportedly tried to sell two of the gold bars to a jeweler, claiming they came from her mother. However, their serial numbers show that they were owned previously by Daibes.
In addition, prosecutors claim Menendez used his role on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help benefit Egypt, supplying confidential information to the country and pressuring a senior official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect a business monopoly that Hana helped extend to Egypt.
He reportedly shared information that was considered “highly sensitive” about staffers with the American embassy in Cairo and exercised “substantial influence” over military funding to Egypt.
Egypt is currently among the top recipients of American foreign aid, racking up grants exceeding $1 billion a year in military sales and financing between 2018 and 2022.
Menendez reportedly met with an official with the Egyptian military to discuss military aid in a meeting arranged by his wife. Shortly thereafter, Hana informed the official via text that the “ban on small arms and ammunition to Egypt has been lifted.”
In a press conference earlier today, Menendez insisted he will be exonerated and resisted calls to resign from the Senate, and he stood behind his political record when it comes to Egypt.
He has already stepped down from this position as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair, but he likely only did so because Democratic Conference rules specify that chairs must resign if they are charged with a felony – although they can later be reinstated should their charges be cleared or reduced.
He also tried to insinuate he was being targeted on account of his ethnicity in his statement vowing not to resign, condemning “how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat.”
Menendez claimed the cash found in the raid was money he withdrew from his own personal savings, saying he withdrew it “for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba.”
He has hired attorney Abbe Lowell, who is also representing Hunter Biden as he faces federal firearm and tax charges.
This is not the first time Menendez has been accused of corruption; he also faced a federal corruption indictment in 2015, but the case ended in a mistrial. In another incident, the Senate Ethics Committee found that he broke federal law for accepting unreported gifts from a political ally and friend in 2018.
Sources for this article include: