Combined with earlier charges, the new indictment paints a grim portrait of a sitting congressman who allegedly used his office to advance the interests of a foreign country rather than benefiting his constituents.
The original charges accused Menendez of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in cash, gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible and home mortgage payments. In exchange, between 2018 and 2022, the pair benefited three New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government, “including foreign military sales and foreign military financing,” prosecutors said. Menendez had significant influence on those matters as chairman and before that as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges in the original indictment.
Menendez did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. During the original indictments, prosecutors “misrepresented the normal work of a congressional office,” he said.
The new indictment accuses the couple and Hana of being the most aggressive advocates on behalf of Egypt, saying Menendez “promised to take a series of actions on behalf of Egypt, including the Egyptian military and intelligence authorities.” His wife and Hana told the senator “requests and orders from the Egyptian authorities”.
The indictment details several specific instances in which Menendez allegedly sought to benefit Egyptian officials. In May 2019, the senator, his wife, and Hana met with an Egyptian intelligence official in Menendez’s Senate office, where they discussed an American citizen injured in a 2015 airstrike by the Egyptian military using a US-made helicopter. Accusation. The incident led some members of Congress to oppose providing military aid to Egypt.
Shortly after the meeting, according to the indictment, Menendez searched online for information about the incident, and a week later told the Egyptian official in a coded message to Hana that Menendez would “sit more comfortably” if he helped resolve the matter. Hana replied: “Command, consider it done.” The officer sent Hana screenshots of a statement from the U.S. citizen’s attorney, who forwarded it to Nadine Menendez, who forwarded it to her husband.
The indictment also states that in the spring of 2020, Nadine Menendez arranged a meeting between her husband and the same Egyptian official about a dam on the Nile, “generally considered one of Egypt’s most important foreign policy issues.” Menendez wrote to the then-Secretary of the Treasury and the then-Secretary of State to push for a settlement of the dam negotiations.
“I am writing to express my concern over the stalled negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan. [the dam]Menendez wrote, according to court documents. “Therefore, I urge you to significantly increase the involvement of the State Department in the negotiations around this [dam].”
Although Menendez had said before the September indictment that he planned to run for re-election in 2024, he wasn’t sure after facing the first charges.
“I’m not going to affect any place in New Jersey under any circumstances,” he told reporters earlier this month, adding that he had not yet made a decision.