Latest News 23-09-2023 00:12 7 Views

Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez defends himself against bribery charges: ‘Active smear campaign’

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., called the federal indictment of bribery charges out of the Southern District of New York against him and his wife a year-long 'smear campaign' in a statement Friday. 

'For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists,' Menendez wrote. 

'The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent. They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met,' the statement continued. 

The New Jersey Democrat claimed he has been falsely accused previously because he 'refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent.' 

The Democrat senator was also indicted on federal bribery charges in 2016. That case related to a wealthy Florida eye doctor and longtime friend who gave generous donations to Menendez and allegedly received benefits in return, and he was acquitted of the charges in 2018 following a mistrial. The new charges are unrelated. 

'They wrote these charges as they wanted; the facts are not as presented,' Menendez wrote. 'Prosecutors did that the last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version.' 

Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the case 'will be successfully resolved once all of the facts are presented.'

'To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgment' he said.

FBI and IRS criminal investigators allege that Menendez and his wife accepted several gold bars and other gifts from Fred Daibes, a New Jersey developer and former bank chairman accused of banking crimes. Menendez allegedly worked to help appoint a prosecutor who would be sympathetic to Daibes, according to the indictment.

The unsealed indictment alleges that from at least 2018 through 2022, Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, 'engaged in a corrupt relationship' with Daibes, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe.

The couple is accused of accepting 'hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez's power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.'

The alleged bribes included cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and 'other things of value.' After the investigation was underway, Menendez reportedly disclosed that his family had accepted gold bars in 2020.

According to prosecutors, Menendez allegedly shared confidential U.S. government information with Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman, to clandestinely support the Egyptian government. The indictment contends that Menendez exerted inappropriate pressure on a Department of Agriculture official to safeguard Hana's business monopoly granted by Egypt. In return, Hana purportedly funneled profits from his monopoly back to Menendez.

Fox News' Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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