Top US Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption trial begins

top us senator bob menendez’s corruption trial begins

US Senator Bob Menendez, a top Democrat, has said he is confident he will be exonerated in the case [Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

Jury selection has begun in the corruption trial of Bob Menendez, a top United States senator who is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for a range of favours and acting as an unregistered agent of the Egyptian government.

Menendez, 70, faces 16 criminal charges and is being tried alongside two New Jersey businessmen in Manhattan federal court.

Menendez sat with his lawyers on Monday and listened as Judge Sidney H Stein told several dozen prospective jurors about the charges.

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”.

Menendez’s wife, Nadine, has also been charged but will be tried separately. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty.

In September, prosecutors accused Menendez and his wife of accepting cash, gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for the senator wielding his political influence in New Jersey and helping the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

Authorities said Menendez promised to help Egypt obtain arms sales and other military aid, and helped co-defendant Wael Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman, obtain a lucrative monopoly on the certification of halal meat exports to Egypt.

Prosecutors also said Menendez tried to help his other co-defendant, prominent New Jersey developer Fred Daibes, obtain millions of dollars from a Qatari investment fund, and sought to disrupt a federal criminal case against Daibes in New Jersey.

Much of the cash received by the couple was stuffed inside clothing at their home, prosecutors said.

A few weeks after the initial indictment was unsealed, US authorities in October also charged Menendez – who previously chaired the influential Senate Foreign Affairs Committee – with serving as an unregistered agent of Egypt.

Speaking to reporters in late September, Menendez said he was confident he would be exonerated in the case and would continue his political career.

“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator,” he said.

He also sought to defend his record on Egypt.

“Throughout my 30 years in the House of Representatives and the Senate, I have always worked to hold accountable those countries including Egypt for human rights abuses, the repression of its citizenry, civil society, and more,” he told reporters at the time.

Menendez is up for re-election in November and has said he might run as an independent if he is exonerated in the criminal case.

But recent polls show he is deeply unpopular among New Jersey voters and many Democratic Party senators, including New Jersey’s Cory Booker, have called for him to resign.

Fewer than one in six voters polled in March by Monmouth University and Emerson College Polling/PIX11/The Hill said they approved of Menendez’s job performance. Even fewer said they would vote for him as an independent.

This is Menendez’s second criminal trial: In 2017, a New Jersey federal judge declared a mistrial after jurors deadlocked on whether he broke the law by providing help to a wealthy ophthalmologist in exchange for lavish gifts and political contributions.

OTHER NEWS

6 hrs ago

Experts: EFT scheme needs more funds and transparency

6 hrs ago

Umno supreme council member says party to take back some sacked leaders

6 hrs ago

High fees deter youth from pursuing tertiary education

6 hrs ago

G7 will try to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine

6 hrs ago

GRS govt failed the people in handling Sabah's 40% revenue rights issue, says Kiandee

6 hrs ago

Bersih to remain a social movement amid calls for political party status

7 hrs ago

Stars center Hintz and Oilers forward Henrique again scratches for Game 2 of West final

7 hrs ago

Tough day for Red Wings' Lucas Raymond at World Championship

7 hrs ago

Minnesota Vikings CB is flying under the radar

7 hrs ago

Open up contest for top Bersatu posts to strengthen party, say analysts

7 hrs ago

How to Watch 'Hit Man': Is Glen Powell's New Movie Streaming?

8 hrs ago

MCA no help getting non-Malay support for PN, say analysts

8 hrs ago

Rangers rule out depth forward for Game 3 against Panthers

8 hrs ago

Dedicated to ‘elevating humanity’

8 hrs ago

Mets rapidly approaching rock bottom with another ugly loss

8 hrs ago

New York Yankees place Jon Berti on injured list

8 hrs ago

What time is F1 race today? Monaco Grand Prix start time, live stream and TV channel

8 hrs ago

Phillies' Bryce Harper questions umpire's professionalism after his bizarre ejection

8 hrs ago

Nationals get 2 runs in 7th inning to top reeling Mariners 3-1

8 hrs ago

‘Down with dictatorship’: Tunisians rally against gov’t crackdown on media

8 hrs ago

Haas’ qualifying disqualification and starting spot at F1 Monaco Grand Prix, explained

8 hrs ago

Gig workers law to be tabled July

9 hrs ago

Bronze Age replica boats ready to launch

9 hrs ago

Ancelotti: “Bellingham is not the replacement for Kroos, he needs to be closer to the goal”

9 hrs ago

Cannes Film Festival Winners 2024: 'Anora' Wins Palme d'Or

9 hrs ago

7 Confucian Money Lessons: Could These Be Key To Achieving Success and Wealth?

9 hrs ago

This Amazing Ford F-150 Lightning Lease Deal Can Get You Up To $15,250 Off

9 hrs ago

Heavy price to pay for SPM leavers

9 hrs ago

What's it like replacing the top amateur in the world? Georgia Tech's Aidan Tran found out Saturday

9 hrs ago

Govt ‘testing the market’ with diesel plan, says economist

9 hrs ago

Penang banks on durian tourism to drive up local economy

9 hrs ago

Rookie Dereck Lively II has been historically good for Dallas Mavericks in playoffs

9 hrs ago

No new taxes, only fairer targeted subsidy, says PM

9 hrs ago

PKR’s lack of reps a hurdle in state reshuffle, says analyst

9 hrs ago

Charles Schwab Challenge: 3 storylines to watch, round 3 tee times

9 hrs ago

Their school is about to close. Now, Birmingham-Southern heads to College World Series.

10 hrs ago

Patricia Richardson Says She Left 'Home Improvement' as a 'Flip-Off to Disney' Due to Tim Allen Pay Gap

10 hrs ago

Housing Market 2024: 6 Affordable Cities in Texas for First Time Homebuyer

10 hrs ago

Wallows Celebrate Album ‘Model' by Destroying Their Apartment in ‘You' Video

10 hrs ago

Zoe Saldaña Talks ‘Avatar 4' Update & Keeping Up With Karla Sofía Gascón In Acclaimed Movie ‘Emilia Perez' – Cannes Studio

Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch