Menendez May Throw Wife Under the Bus in Foreign Bribery Case

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(Headline USA) Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., may try to pin the blame on his wife for involving him in a foreign bribery scheme for which he is now facing several federal charges, according to court documents released this week.

The senator’s legal team laid out the possible defense strategy in a motion unsealed on Tuesday. In it, Menendez asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to sever his case from his co-defendants, including his wife, Nadine.

“At trial, as part of his defense, Senator Menendez may elect to testify to communications with his wife that serve to materially decrease any inference of culpability on Senator Menendez’s part,” the motion states. 

These communications, according to Menendez’s team, will prove that Nadine did not adequately inform Menendez about her meetings with foreign officials from Egypt or why she had received “certain monetary items,” thereby “demonstrating the absence of any improper intent on Senator Menendez’s part.”

The motion even goes so far as to state that Nadine, not the senator, should be inculpated because she “withheld information from Senator Menendez or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place.”

The court apparently granted the motion last week when U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein ruled that Menendez and his wife will be tried separately on bribery charges.

Both Bob and Nadine Menendez are facing 18 criminal counts in the sprawling bribery case and have pleaded not guilty.

They stand accused of accepting bribes that included more than $150,000 in gold bars, $566,000 in cash payments, a Mercedes–Benz convertible and other lavish gifts to assist businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes. 

They have also been charged by the Justice Department for acting as foreign agents on behalf of the Egyptian and Qatari governments.

The senator’s trial begins on May 6.

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