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Star Witness Testifies About Car Bribe In Menendez Trial

 June 9, 2024

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is on trial for federal corruption charges, accused of accepting bribes to obstruct criminal investigations into businesses linked to Jose Uribe, who testified last week about bribing Menendez by offering his wife a a car.

Prosecutors allege a long-term bribery scheme involving Menendez, his spouse, and co-defendants Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, who allegedly provided Menendez with expensive gifts -- including a Mercedez-Benz for his hife -- to influence investigations and benefit their businesses, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Uribe's Testimony Unveils Alleged Bribe

Uribe testified on Friday, revealing that he bribed Sen. Menendez by providing a Mercedes-Benz convertible to Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, to sway the senator to obstruct criminal investigations.

The agreement was allegedly reached during a telephone conversation in March 2019 between Uribe and Nadine Menendez. Uribe explained that Nadine would contact Sen. Menendez to use his influence to halt investigations.

Prosecutors have been constructing a case for four weeks, presenting evidence of a yearslong bribery scheme involving Sen. Menendez and his wife. Uribe has admitted guilt to multiple state and federal crimes related to his businesses and is now cooperating with the prosecution.

Bribery Discussions and Agreements

In early 2018, Wael Hana informed Uribe about ongoing state criminal investigations into Uribe's trucking company and insurance business. Hana offered to make these investigations disappear for a sum of $200,000 to $250,000.

Uribe agreed to Hana's terms, leading Hana to contact Nadine Arslanian, who had begun dating Menendez in 2018, to facilitate the deal. On July 13, 2018, Uribe hosted a political fundraiser for Menendez, raising $50,000.

During this fundraiser, Menendez attended without any mention of the clandestine agreement. Following an inquiry from the attorney general’s office later in 2018, Uribe asked Hana to get Menendez to intervene.

Menendez's Involvement and Alleged Greed

In October 2018, Hana organized a dinner meeting with Menendez, which Uribe later described as pointless and lacking substantive discussion. By March 2019, Uribe directly communicated with Nadine Arslanian, promising her a car upon the deal's fulfillment.

The ongoing trial includes charges against Menendez for bribery, fraud, extortion, obstruction of justice, and acting as a foreign agent of Egypt. Menendez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Nadine Menendez also faces similar charges, though her trial has been postponed due to health issues. Co-defendants Wael Hana and Fred Daibes are on trial, accused of providing Menendez with gifts and being part of an international bribery scheme; both have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecution's Argument of Menendez's Greed

Prosecutors allege that Menendez was driven by greed, prioritizing personal gain over his duties to his constituents. During opening arguments, prosecutor Laura Pomerantz accused Menendez of putting “greed first” and selling out his constituents.

Uribe testified that Nadine agreed to the terms of contacting Menendez to use his power to stop investigations. “Nadine will contact Sen. Menendez, use his influence and power to do anything possible to stop and kill investigations, so my family … so it doesn’t get to my family, and my family doesn’t get hurt,” Uribe testified.

Uribe also recounted the ineffective dinner meeting in October 2018, stating, “Nothing was discussed there of value, I will say. It was a pointless, a pointless meeting.”

Sen. Menendez Maintains Innocence

Despite the mounting allegations, Sen. Menendez maintains his innocence. “Next week, we get the truth,” Menendez said just before stepping into a car Friday afternoon at the federal courthouse.

The trial continues as prosecutors aim to prove a long-term bribery scheme that allegedly influenced Menendez’s actions as a senator. The involvement of his wife and co-defendants adds complexity to the case.

As the trial unfolds, the testimonies and evidence presented will be crucial in determining the outcome for Menendez, his wife, and the co-defendants. The implications of this trial could have significant repercussions for all involved.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Sen. Bob Menendez faces serious charges of bribery, fraud, and obstruction of justice, among others, with testimonies like Uribe’s painting a picture of alleged corruption.

As the trial progresses, the focus remains on uncovering the truth behind the allegations and determining the extent of Menendez’s involvement in the purported bribery scheme.