Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez sets up defense fund amid criminal probe into gifts to his wife: report

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., will set up a legal defense fund to help pay for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees relating to the federal criminal probe into his dealings with foreign regulators, according to a new report. Menendez’s office confirmed plans to create the fund to NBC News on Monday as the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York continued its months-long investigation into the senator. The probe has already cost Menendez roughly $200,000 in campaign funds, according to filings obtained by NBC. “Senator Menendez is confident that this official inquiry will be successfully closed, but as it is still unresolved he will be opening a separate legal defense fund so as not to drain any further campaign funds,” a spokeswoman for Menendez told the outlet. Fox News Digital reached out to Menendez’s office for additional comment, but they did not immediately respond. The probe, which involves several federal organizations, is investigating lavish gifts Menendez’s wife received from a New Jersey food producer that obtained an exclusive contract with the Egyptian government to certify Halal food exports across the globe. SEN. BOB MENENDEZ CALLS FOR END TO ALL COOPERATION WITH SAUDI ARABIA OVER OPEC+ OIL CUT The inquiry is considering whether Menendez may have improperly used his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to influence the deal. The committee controls roughly $2 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt, according to NBC. Menendez continues to deny all the allegations against him.  NADLER DISMISSES ‘ESSENTIALLY FRAUDULENT’ CLAIMS FROM REPUBLICANS ABOUT CRIME IN NYC Federal investigators opened to new probe into Menendez in October and have given no indication of how long it is expected to continue. CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Menendez was previously indicted on federal bribery charges in 2016. That case related to a wealthy Florida eye doctor and longtime friend who gave generous donations to Menedez and allegedly received benefits in return. The Justice Department dropped those charges in 2018, however, and the new probe appears unrelated to that case.
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