Prosecutors Paint Menendez as ‘Greedy Politician’ in Bribery Trial as Closing Arguments Loom

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The bribery and corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is nearing its conclusion, with closing arguments expected to begin as early as Monday afternoon. The eight-week trial has seen a slew of evidence presented, including thousands of texts and voicemail messages, and testimony from over a dozen witnesses.

Prosecutors have painted Menendez as a greedy politician, alleging that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, a convertible, and 13 gold bars in exchange for favors. They claim that he held court in his New Jersey home, summoning his wife with a tiny silver bell and puffing on cigars while entertaining bids.

This image provided by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in New York, shows two of the gold bars found during a search by federal agents of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) home and safe deposit box. (U.S. Attorney’s Office via AP)

Menendez, 70, and his wife, Nadine, were both charged in the scheme, with Nadine’s trial pushed back to at least August as she recovers from breast cancer. Menendez is on trial with two New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, who are accused of bribing him.

In a statement to reporters, Menendez denied the allegations, saying that prosecutors had failed to prove every aspect of the case against him. He claimed that to take the stand would be “simply not something that makes any sense to me whatsoever” and that his lawyers would produce a powerful and convincing summation.

The defense called five witnesses to the stand, including Menendez’s sister-in-law and his sister, Caridad Gonzalez, who attempted to explain the presence of large sums of cash in the senator’s home. Gonzalez claimed that stashing cash was a “Cuban thing” and that her family had been forced to leave everything behind when they fled Cuba.

Menendez’s lawyers also presented evidence that the senator’s parents had taught him to keep cash on hand, allegedly as a habit from their Cuban upbringing. The defense rested its case without calling any additional witnesses, while Daibes and Hana may call more witnesses before final summations begin.

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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