US v Menendez: Dem senator’s corruption trial kicks off with surprising delay

Jury selection continues for Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial on Tuesday morning. As of Monday afternoon, zero jurors were seated for the trial, which is taking place in a Manhattan courtroom and expected to continue through the end of June.By Monday afternoon, the judge excused 38 of 152 jurors for various reasons pertaining to why they could not be present for the case. That leaves 114 jurors who will return this morning for continued selection.Jurors will be expected to discern whether evidence against Menendez and two New Jersey businessmen, Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, shows they were part of a bribery scheme, including meddling in criminal investigations and taking actions benefiting the governments of Egypt and Qatar. All three have pleaded not guilty. Co-defendant Jose Uribe has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other defendants. A trial for the senator’s wife, who is also charged, is delayed until at least July for health reasons. This is the second time in a decade that Menendez has been accused in a federal corruption case. BOB MENENDEZ’S CORRUPTION CASE CO-DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY TO 7 COUNTS, COOPERATING WITH INVESTIGATORSMenendez was charged by federal prosecutors with obstruction of justice in another superseding indictment unsealed in March relating to a multiyear alleged bribery scheme involving the Egypt and Qatar governments.The 18-page indictment is wrapped into Menendez’s existing charges already against him and his co-defendants – including his wife, Nadine – for allegedly acting as a foreign agent and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to benefit the Egyptian government through his power and influence as a senator.The indictment comes after Uribe accepted a plea deal and agreed to cooperate last week. The charges on Tuesday also alleged Menendez committed conspiracy, bribery, acting as a foreign agent, extortion and wire fraud.DEMOCRAT SEN BOB MENENDEZ FACING INDICTMENT ON BRIBERY CHARGESProsecutors also state in the new indictment that Menendez instructed his lawyers to inform the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in 2022 about his awareness of businessman Wael Hana issuing a payment exceeding $23,000 for Nadine’s home mortgage and the money that Uribe contributed for her new luxury vehicle.Menendez also allegedly advised his attorneys to disclose to the prosecutor’s office that he later discovered the funds were actually loans, when “In truth and in fact, and as Menendez well knew,” the mortgage and car payments were made prior to 2022 “and they were not loans, but bribe payments,” prosecutors wrote in Tuesday’s indictment.TRUMP, HOUSE DEMS DEFEND TEXAS CONGRESSMAN ACCUSED OF ACCEPTING MEXICAN BRIBES, BUT FOR VERY DIFFERENT REASONSMenendez is also accused of accepting bribes and gifts in exchange for helping to benefit Qatar as part of a corruption scheme from 2021 through 2023.Menendez, along with his wife and the three New Jersey businessmen, were first charged in the federal bribery scheme on Sept. 23. Hana, Daibes, the senator and Nadine Menendez have pleaded not guilty.Fox News Digital’s Daniel Wallace and Jennifer Johnson contributed to this report. 
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