Federal prosecutors announced Friday corruption charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and his wife, alleging they accepted bribes in exchange for favors distributed by the senator using the power of his office.
The 39-page indictment outlines various alleged schemes involving Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez and three New Jersey businessmen that led investigators to discover piles of cash and gold bars at the inside the senator’s home.
In an air of defiance statementMenendez suggested there was some sort of conspiracy against him, saying “those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latin American, from humble beginnings, could become a U.S. senator and serve with honor and distinction.
Menendez now faces years in prison, not to mention the possible end of his political career. Here are five of the most shocking details from the indictment.
Wads of notes
During a search of Menendez’s home in June 2022, authorities said they found nearly half a million dollars in cash, “much of which was stuffed in envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe “.
Among the clothes that would have been used to hide the money? A navy blue jacket emblazoned with the senator’s name and a black jacket stitched with SENATOR MENENDEZ. The indictment includes photos of the clothing on which the money was removed from the envelopes and placed on top.
In addition to all the dollars, investigators said they discovered furniture, a Mercedes convertible parked in the garage and more than $100,000 in gold bars allegedly given to Menendez and his wife by their business partners. One of these partners was an Egyptian-American who allegedly passed sensitive information from Menendez to the Egyptian government.
A letter written by a ghost
Prosecutors say in 2018, Nadine, now Menendez’s wife, then his girlfriend, told the senator that Egyptian officials needed help drafting a letter asking other senators to support aid American to Egypt. In response, according to the indictment, the senator “secretly edited and ghost-wrote the requested letter on behalf of Egypt, seeking to convince other U.S. senators to release $300 million in aid to Egypt.” Bob and Nadine Menendez were married in 2020.
A golden Google search
Bob Menendez allegedly intervened in federal criminal investigation against Fred Daibes, a New Jersey developer would have links to organized crime, including recommending that President Joe Biden appoint a more sympathetic prosecutor. In exchange, Daibes provided silver and gold, according to the indictment.
The day after being returned from the airport by a driver who worked for Daibes in October 2021, Menendez allegedly conducted “a web search for ‘how much is a kilo of gold'” and then searched for “the price per kilo of ‘gold “. The senator apparently did not clear his browser history; his wife ended up selling some of the gold bars to a jeweler, authorities said.
Daibes pleaded guilty to participating in an insider lending scam last year.
Menéndez had Just Corruption allegations unrelated to authorities dodged
One of the most notable things about the indictment is that it describes allegedly criminal behavior by Menendez beginning in March 2018, less than six months after a previous unrelated federal corruption case against Menendez s ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury.
If convicted, Menendez faces years in prison for conspiracy to commit bribery, extortion and honest services fraud.