Bob Menendez hit with obstruction of justice charges in bribery case

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Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was hit Tuesday with charges alleging that he and his wife conspired to obstruct justice in the bribery case against them.

The superseding indictment against Menendez and his wife, Nadine, brings the total amount of federal charges facing the once-powerful head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to 18.

The new indictment comes just days after one of Menendez’s co-defendants in the case, New Jersey businessman Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the probe.

The document cites a meeting Nadine Menendez had with Uribe in 2022 after federal investigators had issued subpoenas seeking information about payments he’d made on a luxury car for her, which prosecutors said was part of the bribery scheme. She asked Uribe what he’d tell investigators and he said he’d tell them it was a loan, the filing says. She told him that “sounded good,” according to the indictment.

The indictment said the senator first had his lawyer tell investigators that he was unaware of the car payments or mortgage payments from another businessman that prosecutors said was also part of the bribery scheme. He later had his attorney tell investigators he’d found out they had been loans, the indictment said, when he “well knew” that they “were not loans, but bribe payments.”

In a statement Tuesday, the senator called the new charges “a flagrant abuse of power.”

“The government has long known that I learned of and helped repay loans — not bribes — that had been provided to my wife,” he said, calling the prosecutors “overzealous” and “out to get me.”

“I am innocent and will prove it no matter how many charges they continue to pile on,” he added.

Attorneys for Bob and Nadine Menendez did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife used his political influence to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including “cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and other items of value.”

The superseding indictment is the third since they were first charged in the case in September.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

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