Menendez May Blame His Wife: Court Doc

Per unsealed filing, Dem senator may implicate Nadine Menendez in bribery trial set for May
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2024 10:04 AM CDT
Menendez Court Filing Hints at Interesting Legal Strategy
Sen. Bob Menendez, left, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, arrive at the federal courthouse in New York on Sept. 27.   (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

Bob Menendez's bribery trial is looming in May, and a March court filing unsealed this week reveals what part of his defense may entail: throwing his wife, Nadine Menendez, under the bus. Politico reports that the court document released on Tuesday by order of Judge Sidney Stein sought to redact a portion of a larger legal filing from January asking for separate trials for the Menendezes. The language they sought to hide indicated that the New Jersey Democratic senator's lawyers will try to show "absence of any improper intent" on his part by "demonstrating the ways" in which his spouse ""withheld information from Sen. Menendez or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place."

Bob Menendez's defense attorneys had tried to keep that blueprint hidden from the public, as they feared it would bias the jury pool and hamper the couple's right to a fair trial. NBCUniversal and other media groups led the charge to unseal the redacted portions of the filing, claiming that the public's right to know takes priority over the concerns of Menendez's legal team, per the AP. Bob Menendez's trial is currently set for May 6, but prosecutors are now looking to delay that due to an issue with a lawyer for another defendant.

Nadine Menendez, who was granted a separate trial last week due to an unspecified "serious medical condition," is scheduled to see her day in court sometime this summer. The two have pleaded not guilty to charges that they participated in a bribery scheme that involved them receiving gold bars and cash in return for political favors. In the midst of this all playing out on the legal front, Bob Menendez has also announced he won't be running for a fourth term in Congress—at least not as a Democrat, per ABC News. He's left the door cracked for an independent bid. (More Bob Menendez stories.)

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