Influential Democratic Senator Robert Menéndez, representative of New Jersey, has been charged by the United States federal prosecutor’s office with bribery and extortion in a second corruption accusation in eight years. The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using their power and influence to benefit businessmen and the Egyptian government.
According to prosecutors, more than half a million dollars in cash were found in Menéndez’s house and in his wife’s safe deposit box, in addition to gold bars and a luxurious Mercedes Benz convertible given by one of the businessmen involved. The senator accepted the money to help protect two businessmen from Justice Department investigations and to help an Egyptian-American businessman maintain a business monopoly granted by the Egyptian government.
The indictment also alleges that Menendez provided sensitive US government information to Egypt. If he is convicted, Menendez could face up to 20 years in prison on the most serious charges.
This is not the first time Menéndez has faced corruption accusations. In 2015, he was accused of accepting bribes in the form of private jet flights, luxury vacations, and illegal campaign donations, but the charges were dismissed three years later due to the jury’s lack of a unanimous verdict.
The senator, who has been a strong supporter of US foreign policy on issues such as Cuba, Venezuela, China, and Israel, is currently seeking re-election to the Senate in 2024. His legal status could influence voters’ perception of New Jersey, and his case has the potential to upset the slim Democratic majority in the US Senate, which is currently 51-49.