Nadine Menendez’s Money Problems Linked to Bribery Scandal

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Federal prosecutors have recently presented the Manhattan jury with the initial details of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) alleged prolonged bribery scheme.

The prosecution asserts that the dire financial situation of Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, triggered what they describe as a five-year-long bribery plot.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) exits the Manhattan federal court after the second day of jury selection in his trial, Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in New York. The Democrat has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, extortion, fraud, and obstruction of justice, including accusations of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

A federal indictment alleges that the once-influential couple accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, such as gold bars, furniture, and bundles of cash. These were reportedly in exchange for the senator’s efforts to facilitate deals benefiting three businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

Menendez is being tried alongside two New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes. All three, along with Nadine Menendez, have pleaded not guilty. A fourth individual has pleaded guilty and is slated to testify. Nadine Menendez’s trial has been postponed to July due to her breast cancer diagnosis.

The senator’s defense strategy has primarily involved shifting responsibility to his wife, portraying her as a manipulative figure and central to all the allegations against him.

Through a multi-day presentation of numerous communications, including hundreds of texts, emails, and phone calls, prosecutors attempted to illustrate Nadine Menendez’s financial descent before her relationship with Menendez began in 2018.

Nadine Menendez’s Money Problems Linked to Bribery Scandal
Nadine Menendez, wife of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), leaves Manhattan federal court, Thursday, March 21, 2024, New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Prosecutors aimed to show that this relationship was linked to a bribery scheme, with Menendez assisting Hana, a Coptic Christian, in monopolizing the halal meat market. This included securing an exclusive contract with Egypt to certify meat exports from the U.S. as meeting religious standards, while financially aiding two other businessmen and helping them achieve favorable outcomes in New Jersey criminal cases.

On Wednesday, jurors reviewed text messages exchanged between Menendez and his then-girlfriend, Nadine Arslanian.

“You can never lose me because I will never let go,” read one message from Arslanian to Menendez.

Other communications from the summer of 2019 revealed Arslanian’s severe risk of losing her Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home due to missed $20,000 mortgage payments. Hana stepped in to pay the amount, allowing her to stay in her home. After marrying Menendez, he moved in as well. Prosecutors claimed that Hana’s payment was intended to secure the halal contract.

Menendez has consistently stated through his lawyers that he was unaware of his wife’s financial issues and that he did nothing unlawful.

The trial is anticipated to last at least another month. It remains uncertain if Menendez will testify.

Following his arrest and charges, Menendez stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has indicated that if acquitted, he intends to run as an independent in November.

On Thursday, NBC News reported that Menendez has collected the necessary 800 signatures to appear on the November ballot as an independent, with his campaign aiming to gather more by the June 4 deadline.

Barnini Chakraborty
Barnini Chakraborty
Senior Investigations Reporter. Barnini Chakraborty has previously worked at Fox News as a senior features and politics reporter. She's also worked at Fox Business as a field producer and at Dow Jones. She began her career at the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia.

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