Bob Menendez Hit With Obstruction of Justice Charges in New Indictment

March 5, 2024

U.S. senator Bob Menendez and his wife were charged with obstruction of justice in a new, 18-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday, adding to corruption charges the New Jersey Democrat already faces.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to earlier charges of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen to impede law enforcement probes they faced, and illegally acting as an agent of the Egyptian government.

In the new indictment, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Menendez's former lawyers had told them in meetings last year that Menendez had not been aware until 2022 of mortgage or car payments that two businessmen had made for his wife, and that when he found out about the payments he thought they were loans.

"In truth and in fact, and as Menendez well knew, Menendez had learned of both the mortgage company payment and the car payments prior to 2022, and they were not loans, but bribe payments," prosecutors wrote.

Menendez's current lawyers at law firm Paul Hastings did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Paul Hastings team replaced lawyers from Winston & Strawn in representing Menendez in the case last November.

Nadine Menendez's lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She has pleaded not guilty as well.

The businessman who made the alleged car payment, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty last week to fraud and bribery charges.

In charging the senator last September, prosecutors said investigators had found gold bars and envelopes stuffed with cash inside jackets in Menendez's apartment.

They also said businessman Wael Hana had arranged meetings between Menendez and Egyptian officials, who pressed the senator to sign off on military aid.

In return, Hana put Menendez's wife on the payroll of a company he controlled, prosecutors said. Hana has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors filed a more sweeping indictment against Menendez in January, accusing him of helping a New Jersey businessman seek investment from a Qatari company with ties to the Middle Eastern country's government.

Menendez has resisted calls to resign, including from fellow Democrats. He temporarily stepped down as chair of the Senate foreign relations committee after being charged in September.