New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has been charged with yet another indictment in his ongoing bribery and corruption scandal. Clearly, wild behavior isn’t just reserved for Republicans. Now, he and his wife are being charged with conspiracy to have him act as a foreign agent for Egypt, of all places! This is on top of the recent legal battles already plaguing the political couple.
The superseding indictment joins the charges of corruption that have already been levied against the couple. Menendez is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars, gold bars, a new Mercedes Benz, and more in exchange for his influence. The alleged scheme goes back a few years, as Menendez faced similar charges in 2015, which ended in a mistrial. Back in 2019, the Senator met with an Egyptian intelligence official at his official government office, along with his wife and New Jersey businessman Wael Hana. They met to discuss an airstrike that took place in 2015, where a U.S. citizen was injured. Some members of Congress believed that Egypt had not provided enough compensation to the American, which led them to object to more military aid to Egypt. Afterward, Menendez looked up more information about this injured American. Then, the Egyptian official and Hana texted, in Arabic, asking if the Senator resolved the issue. Hana said that it would be and “consider it done.”
In March 2020, it is alleged that Menendez’s wife, Nadine, texted one of the officials from Egypt. Only a few days later, Nadine created a meeting between that official and her husband to talk about negotiations between the countries of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, who were considering a dam on the Nile River. This was considered a foreign policy issue for Egypt, in particular. Then within about a month, the U.S. Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State began to increase the State Department’s engagement on the dam in question.
So essentially, it is illegal for public officials to act as a foreign agent. Senator Menendez knew this. They didn’t register as agents of Egypt either. All of the meetings and promises given to Egyptian officials seem like they fall under the category of working for another government. I am not an expert, though! The Senator and his wife have pleaded not guilty to the allegations against them.
So far, Bob Menendez has said that he will not step down, though he did say he will not run for re-election. Also, he has said that he is loyal to the United States. He gave a statement last week saying that these new charges go against his “long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt and in challenging leaders of that country.” This is mess on top of mess. I never was a big fan of Menendez personally, but I am glad that he is not running again.
(featured image: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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