Menendez, Wife Back in Court

Senator from New Jersey pleads not guilty to new obstruction of justice charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2024 11:50 AM CDT
Menendez, Wife Plead Not Guilty
Nadine Menendez and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, arrive at Manhattan federal court on Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. They are being charged with conspiring with three businessmen to accept bribes of gold bars, cash, and a luxury car in return for the senator’s help.   (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife pleaded not guilty on Monday to new obstruction of justice charges in a New York court. The new charges were in a rewritten indictment returned last week against the Democrat in Manhattan federal court. "Once again, not guilty your honor," Menendez responded after Judge Sidney H. Stein asked him to enter a plea at a 20-minute hearing. Menendez had previously pleaded not guilty to charges in October. Menendez and his wife, Nadine, entered the pleas to the indictment containing new charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. Afterward, they briefly spoke to one another before leaving the courtroom together, reports the AP.

The couple is charged with conspiring with three businessmen to accept bribes of gold bars, cash, and a luxury car in return for the senator's help in projects pursued by the businessmen. Two of the three businessmen they allegedly conspired with also entered not guilty pleas on Monday. A third, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty two weeks ago to bribery charges and agreed to testify against the others at a trial set for May 6. The new allegations—part of what is now an 18-count indictment—are related to gifts prosecutors say the couple received from Uribe.

According to the indictment, Menendez caused his lawyer to falsely tell prosecutors overseeing the investigation that he was unaware that another of his business associates had helped his wife make a $23,000 mortgage payment on her New Jersey home. It said Nadine Menendez caused her lawyer to tell prosecutors last August that the mortgage payment and funds provided by Uribe for a Mercedes-Benz were loans when she knew they were bribes. Menendez said in a statement last week that prosecutors have "long known that I learned of and helped repay loans—not bribes—that had been provided to my wife."

(More Bob Menendez stories.)

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