Bob Menendez's Lawyers Say Senator Hoarded Cash, Gold Because of 'Intergenerational Trauma'

May 2, 2024

Lawyers for Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) on Wednesday said the senator hoarded 13 gold bars and nearly half a million in cash at home due to "intergenerational trauma" rooted in his family’s experience as Cuban refugees.

Menendez’s legal team argued that hoarding cash and gold bars at home served as a "coping mechanism" for the senator from his longstanding and untreated trauma, according to a court filing on Wednesday. 

The senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, allegedly traded political favors to the Egyptian government and three businessmen for financial gains. An FBI raid in September on the couple’s $1.2 million house found $480,000 in cash—"much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe"—along with gold bars worth around $100,000.

"Senator Menendez suffered intergenerational trauma stemming from his family’s experience as refugees, who had their funds confiscated by the Cuban government and were left with only a small amount of cash that they had stashed away in their home," the filing read.

The lawyers also said Menendez "experienced trauma when his father, a compulsive gambler, died by suicide after Senator Menendez eventually decided to discontinue paying off his father’s gambling debts."

Menendez has asked the court to bring in a psychologist to verify his claims. Federal prosecutors, however, opposed the request and accused him of trying to bias the jury by "engender[ing] sympathy based on his family background, in the guise of expert testimony."

The embattled Democrat has been indicted four times by federal authorities on bribery and corruption charges but has denied any wrongdoing and dismissed bipartisan calls for him to resign from the Senate.

A court filing in April showed Menendez may be poised to blame his wife for involving him in the scandal. The senator’s attorneys intend to demonstrate the "absence of any improper intent on Senator Menendez’s part" by showing that his wife "withheld information from Sen. Menendez or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place."

The senator’s trial is scheduled to begin on May 13 in Manhattan. His wife's trial has been pushed to July after she asked for a delay due to a "serious medical condition."

Published under: Bob Menendez , Senate