Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is facing bribery charges and has hired Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, to defend him. This decision comes as more than two dozen Democratic officials in New Jersey have called for his resignation and a fellow Democrat, Rep. Andy Kim, has announced he is running for his Senate seat.
The charges against Menendez were revealed on Friday in a dramatic indictment. He is accused of receiving over $400,000 in gold bars, cash, and a luxury vehicle in exchange for using his political influence to benefit a New Jersey developer and businessmen with ties to the Egyptian government.
During a press conference, Menendez declared his innocence and insisted that he would be exonerated. He also called the charges against him “salacious” and blamed his ethnicity for being “falsely accused.” However, his legal team will now have to defend him against the evidence presented in the indictment.
This is not the first time Menendez has faced bribery charges. In 2015, he was indicted on similar charges, but the case ended in a mistrial. Many Democrats, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, have publicly called for Menendez’s resignation, with Murphy stating that the charges compromise his ability to effectively represent the people of New Jersey. However, Menendez has remained defiant, stepping down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the wake of the indictment.
The indictment details a series of alleged improper relationships and financial transactions between Menendez and three New Jersey businessmen: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. The couple face three criminal counts each, including conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The three businessmen face charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
The indictment also accuses Menendez of using his political influence to pressure the State Department in favor of one of the businessmen, Fred Daibes. This included trying to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution of Daibes and recommending a U.S. Attorney to President Joe Biden who Menendez believed he could influence. The indictment also includes evidence of Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, receiving envelopes of cash and over $70,000 in a safe deposit box.
The investigation also revealed that the Menendez family had possession of multiple gold bars provided by one of the businessmen, Wael Hana. In addition, the couple allegedly exchanged highly sensitive information about Egypt, which Menendez obtained through his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for bribes from Hana.
Menendez’s decision to hire Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has caused further controversy. Lowell is currently representing President Joe Biden’s son in federal court, and his involvement in Menendez’s case has raised concerns about conflicts of interest.
Despite the mounting evidence against him, Menendez remains adamant in his innocence and refuses to step down from his position in the Senate. The indictment paints a damning picture of a powerful political figure engaging in corrupt and unethical behavior, but only time will tell the outcome of this high-profile case.