Across the Street From Trump, Bob Menendez Goes on Trial

Jury selection begins in New Jersey Democrat's corruption trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2024 11:21 AM CDT
Across the Street From Trump, Bob Menendez Goes on Trial
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, arrives for the first day of his trial at Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York.   (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez went on trial in Manhattan federal court Monday, accused of accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to deliver favors that would help three New Jersey businessmen as well as the governments of Egypt and Qatar. Menendez, 70, sat with his lawyers and listened as Judge Sidney Stein told several dozen prospective jurors about the charges against Menendez and two of the businessmen. The judge told them the "sitting US senator from the state of New Jersey" had been charged in a conspiracy in which he allegedly "agreed to accept bribes and accepted bribes."

After he warned them that the trial was expected to last up to seven weeks, Stein let jurors raise their hands if they believed they could not serve for that length of time. He then took them one at a time into a separate room to ask them why, reports the AP. Menendez was dropped off in front of a Manhattan federal courthouse at 8:15am, 40 minutes before former President Trump's motorcade passed by on its way across the street to state court. He did not speak to reporters who were kept behind barricades. Menendez is on trial with two businessmen who allegedly paid him bribes—real estate developer Fred Daibes and Wael Hana.

All three have pleaded not guilty. A third businessman has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other defendants. The senator's wife, Nadine, is also charged, but her trial is delayed until at least July over health issues. Opening statements were possible, but unlikely, before Tuesday for a trial that has already sent the senator's political stature tumbling. (More Bob Menendez stories.)

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