- Senator Bob Menendez faces new charges of acting as an agent of foreign principals, as the superseding indictment alleges multiple requests for DOJ investigation for failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
- Initially indicted for bribery, Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for using his position to protect and enrich a businessman.
- Menendez is believed to be the first sitting member of Congress charged with conspiracy for acting as a foreign agent, with the indictment detailing a corrupt agreement involving bribes benefiting Egypt.
- Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez facing additional charges following sweeping indictment (abcnews.go.com)
Federal prosecutors have filed new charges against Senator Bob Menendez, accusing him of violating a prohibition on members of Congress acting as agents of foreign principals. The superseding indictment alleges that Menendez made multiple requests for the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation against another person for failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
This comes after Menendez was initially indicted in September, along with his wife, on charges of bribery. They were accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s position to protect and enrich a businessman. The new indictment includes four additional charges and is believed to be the first time a sitting member of Congress has been charged with conspiracy for acting as a foreign agent.
According to the indictment, Menendez conspired with his wife and New Jersey businessman Wael Hana to act as an agent of Egypt. The indictment also includes photos of Menendez, his wife, and Hana dining with Egyptian officials, which prosecutors claim were part of a corrupt agreement involving bribes for official acts benefiting Egypt.
The indictment alleges that once Menendez’s wife informed Hana that she was dating Menendez, they arranged meetings and dinners with Egyptian officials. In exchange for bribe payments, Menendez was expected to help lift a block on U.S. military aid to Egypt. Hana’s lawyer, Larry Lustberg, denied the allegations, calling them baseless and absurd.
The new indictment also accuses Nadine Menendez of setting up an LLC to receive bribe payments, with a message from her stating that she expected to be paid for her involvement in deals. As part of the charges, federal prosecutors sought to seize Menendez’s home, a Mercedes convertible purchased with bribe money by Nadine, cash amounting to nearly half a million dollars, and multiple gold bars.
Menendez released a statement in response to the new charges, asserting his long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt. He emphasized his loyalty to the United States and expressed confidence that he would be exonerated once all the facts were presented.
The superseding indictment also reveals that Menendez made multiple requests to the Department of Justice for an investigation into another person who allegedly failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It is believed that the person referred to in the indictment is former Republican congressman David Rivera from Florida, whom Menendez accused of being an agent for Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro.
Menendez and his wife pleaded not guilty to the initial charges in September. Senator Marco Rubio, the second-ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern over the new charges but stated that Menendez has the right to defend himself. Menendez has vowed not to step down and has strongly criticized the charges against him.