Senator Bob Menendez has hired Hunter Biden’s lawyer to defend him against bribery charges for ignoring calls from Democratic colleagues to resign.
Abbe Lowell, who is representing the president’s son in federal court, will help the embattled New Jersey lawmaker fight corruption claims revealed in a dramatic indictment Friday.
He is accused of receiving more than $400,000 in gold bars, cash and a Mercedes in exchange for favors for a New Jersey developer and businessmen linked to the Egyptian government.
Menendez’s move on his legal team came as he insisted he be “acquitted” and called the charges against him “salacious” during an incredible press conference.
Lowell and Menendez’s wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez – who has also been charged – were not by his side when he confirmed he would not resign.
Senator Bob Menendez has hired Hunter Biden’s lawyer to defend him against bribery charges for ignoring calls from Democratic colleagues to resign
He made no mention of the gold bars found in his home and did not know whether he would run for re-election.
A defiant Menendez said “prosecutors sometimes get it wrong” in remarks at Hudson County Community College. Hudson County is where he got his start in politics, as mayor of Union City.
Support for the controversial Democrat is declining. More than two dozen New Jersey Democrats have called on him to resign.
And Rep. Andy Kim, who cleared out the Capitol after rioters left on Jan. 6, 2021, announced he is running for Senate, handing Menendez a tough primary challenge.
“This is not something I expected, but I believe New Jersey deserves better,” Kim said in a statement. “We cannot compromise the Senate or jeopardize the integrity of our country. I believe it is time for us to restore faith in our democracy, which is why I am running for Senate.”
It is the second round of bribery charges for Menendez. A 2015 case ended in a mistrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts and a judge acquitted him on some charges.
But unlike eight years ago, when many in the party supported him, several Democrats — including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman — have called on Menendez to resign.
“The alleged facts are so serious that they jeopardize Senator Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of our state,” Murphy said. As governor, he would appoint a senator to replace Menendez if he were to resign.
New Jersey’s other Democratic senator, Cory Booker, is notably silent about Menendez.
Menendez himself has remained defiant even as he left his post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Rep. Andy Kim announced he will run for Senate in 2024, setting up a Democratic primary with Menendez. Kim gained national attention when he helped clean up the Capitol following the January 6 insurrection.
Senator Menendez and his wife Nadine are accused of accepting gold bars as bribes
Menendez called the investigation “an active smear campaign from anonymous sources and innuendos to create an atmosphere of impropriety where none exists.”
“The excesses of these prosecutors are clear,” Menendez said. “They misrepresented the normal work of a congressional office. Furthermore, because they were not content to make false claims against me, they attacked my wife because of the long-standing friendships she had before she and I even met.”
Him too claimed he is being ‘falsely accused’ for being a ‘Latin American’ who came to the United States from a humble childhood Senate.
“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first generation of Latin Americans could rise from humble beginnings to become a U.S. senator,” he said.
Republicans see an opening to win a Senate seat if Menendez remains on the ballot.
But former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has ruled out a run and is sticking with his campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee.
“I have no interest in serving in the United States Senate,” Christie told Meet the Press host Kristen Welker on Sunday morning.
Fred Daibes, chairman and CEO of Daibes Enterprises, in his office in Edgewater
The 27-page indictment, unsealed Friday, alleges that Bob and Nadine Menendezt had an improper relationship with three New Jersey businessmen: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, who allegedly paid the couple in exchange for Menendez for his influence to use in Washington. DC in their favor.
The couple each faces three criminal counts: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit racketeering under the color of official right. The three businessmen are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud
The indictment also accuses the senator of providing “sensitive U.S. government information and taking other steps that secretly aided the government of Egypt.”
David Schertler, an attorney for Nadine Menendez, said she “denies any criminal conduct and will vigorously fight these allegations in court.”
The indictment outlines a series of texts, payments and actions that the couple allegedly took to help the three businessmen, actions from which they benefited financially.
The investigation revealed that several ‘bribes’ had been paid to them. “Those bribes included cash, gold, mortgage payments, compensation for a low- or no-show job, a luxury car and other items of value,” the indictment said.
A June 2022 raid on their New Jersey home found “more than $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe,” the indictment said, adding that Nadine had more than had $70,000 in a safe.
Two one-kilogram gold bars and eleven one-ounce gold bars were also found.
The indictment alleges that Menendez attempted to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution of Fred Daibes in exchange for the money and other valuables. Daibes is a longtime friend of Menendez, has raised money for his Senate campaign and is believed to have ties to the Genovese mafia family.
The indictment accuses Menendez of “promising and using his influence and power” to pressure President Joe Biden to appoint a U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey who Menendez “believed could be influenced by Menendez with regarding the federal criminal prosecution of Fred Daibes. .’
Menendez advised and Biden later nominated Phillip Sellinger as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, the top federal prosecutor in the state.
Daibes has been studied before. New Jersey authorities have tracked repeated meetings of high-ranking gangsters with Daibes over the past decade Daily beast reported.
Daibes provided the couple with gold bars and envelopes containing cash, the indictment said.
‘During the court-authorized search in June 2022, several gold bars supplied by Daibes were found; from the couple’s home, the complaint states. It also says the senator searched the internet for ‘how much is a kilo of gold worth’ and that the envelopes containing cash contained the fingerprints of Daibes and his driver.
Cash was found in envelopes during a raid on Menendez’s home in June 2022
The luxury Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible worth over $60,000
The investigation also focused on 40-year-old New Jersey businessman Wael Hana, who knew Nadine before she started dating Menendez.
Originally from Egypt, Hana ran the IS EG Halal company in New Jersey and quickly became the only entity authorized to certify that every halal food product imported into Egypt from anywhere in the world had been prepared according to Islamic law.
According to the indictment, Menendez “improperly advised and pressured a U.S. Department of Agriculture official for the purpose of protecting a business monopoly granted to Hana by Egypt and used in part to finance the bribes paid through Nadine Menendez Menendez were paid.”
IS EC Halal’s designation surprised U.S. agriculture officials. Previously, several other companies had done this certification, but they were dismissed by Egyptian agricultural officials in favor of IS EG Halal, which had no previous experience in this field.
The indictment accuses Menendez of using the power of his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to influence the State Department regarding policy in Egypt and sending Nadine “very sensitive” messages about Egypt, which he received in briefings in the Senate that she in turn gave to Hana.
As a senator, Menendez could put a freeze on State Department funding to the country.
In a text message to his wife, Menendez tells her, “I am going to sign this sale to Egypt today. Egypt: 46,000 120mm target practice and 10,000 tank ammunition: $99 million.”
Nadine then forwarded it to an Egyptian official, who replied with the thumbs up emoji.