Advice For Farewell Notes : NPR

Democratic Sen. Menendez indicted on federal corruption prices: NPR

Advice For Farewell Notes : NPR

A federal indictment unsealed Friday accuses Menendez and his spouse of participating in “a corrupt relationship with three associates and businessmen in New Jersey.”


Federal prosecutors in New York have indicted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey on corruption prices. Menendez’s spouse and three others had been additionally charged within the case, which was unsealed this morning in federal courtroom in Manhattan. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas joins us now to debate this. Good morning, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, by cellphone: Good morning.

FADEL: So, what are the fees in opposition to Menendez, his spouse, and these three others?

LUCAS: Nicely, Menendez and his spouse Nadine had been charged with three counts right here. It is conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit sincere companies fraud, and conspiracy to commit racketeering. There are three co-defendants, all New Jersey businessmen of 1 type or one other, who face two of those prices as effectively. However the indictment does present loads of particulars about what prosecutors say was the alleged scheme right here.

Fadel: Okay. So what do prosecutors say they did?

LUCAS: Nicely, in response to the indictment, Menendez and his spouse accepted lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} in bribes from the three businessmen. In return, Menendez allegedly used his place as a U.S. senator to attempt to assist these businessmen. Prosecutors say Menendez supplied delicate data to the U.S. authorities and took actions that secretly assisted the Egyptian authorities. He allegedly pressured a USDA official to attempt to defend one in every of his co-defendant firms. He allegedly tried to disrupt a prison investigation being performed by the New Jersey Legal professional Basic relating to one other defendant. Prosecutors additionally say Menendez used his place as a senator to advocate to the president a sure individual to be U.S. Legal professional for New Jersey as a result of, prosecutors say, Menendez believed that individual may very well be influenced relating to the prosecution of one other defendant.

Fadel: Wow. These are fairly explosive claims. So how a lot cash are we speaking about right here that they supposedly bought to do this stuff?

LUCAS: Nicely, that is the place the indictment will get into plenty of element, as a result of prosecutors say on this courtroom doc that in a courtroom licensed search of Menendez’s residence in the summertime of 2022, brokers discovered greater than $480,000 in money. Prosecutors say a lot of it was stuffed into envelopes. Some had been allegedly hidden in wardrobes.

Fadel: Wow.

LUCAS: There’s truly a photograph within the indictment of two jackets with Menendez’s identify on them, and there are stacks of hundred-dollar payments that had been allegedly hidden in these coats. One other $70,000 in money was present in a protected deposit field. Prosecutors say the shopper additionally discovered gold bars. There is a image, the truth is, of two of these gold bars on this indictment.

Fadel: Wow. Did Menendez say something about these prices and accusations?

Lucas: There wasn’t a phrase from him. We reached out to his workplace however didn’t hear again.

Fadel: We should point out at this level that this isn’t the primary time the senator has confronted allegations like this, proper, Ryan? Remind us what occurred final time.

Lucas: Nicely, that is true. He confronted federal prices in 2015 on unrelated corruption and bribery prices. Menendez fought the fees, the case went to trial, and finally, a federal decide declared a mistrial after the jury in that case was unable to succeed in a unanimous verdict.

FADEL: Now, this newest indictment comes simply two days after Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland testified on Capitol Hill and Republicans accused the division of political bias. One set of legal guidelines is for Republicans, and one other is for Democrats. Is the timing of the accusation associated to this?

Lucas: Not so. No, this investigation has been happening for a very long time. These items quantity to an indictment on their very own timeline. However it’s value noting that Menendez is a senior Democrat within the US Senate. He’s Chairman of the Overseas Relations Committee, which is a really highly effective and essential place. Nevertheless, that is the second time prior to now few years that the Division of Justice has introduced prices in opposition to him.

FADEL: NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas. Thanks Ryan.

Lucas: Thanks.

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