Pro-Armenian US Senator Robert Menendez charged in another federal corruption indictment
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has been charged in a federal corruption indictment, the authorities said on Friday, News.az reports citing The New York Times.
The indictment against Mr. Menendez, a 69-year-old Democrat who leads the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, follows a lengthy investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and comes nearly six years after his trial on unrelated claims of corruption ended with a hung jury.
The indictment, unsealed in Manhattan federal court, also names the senator’s wife of three years, Nadine Menendez, 56, and a prominent New Jersey real estate developer, Fred Daibes, accusing them of participating in the corrupt scheme. Wael Hana, a longtime friend of Ms. Menendez’s who founded a halal meat certification business in New Jersey, was also charged, as was a fifth person, Jose Uribe, a New Jersey businessman.
It has been known for some time that Mr. Menendez was under federal scrutiny, and he has said he was willing to assist investigators and was confident the matter would be “successfully closed.”
The indictment is almost certain to resound in Washington and in New Jersey.
Mr. Menendez is already facing at least one Democratic challenger in his planned run for re-election to a fourth term in the Senate, and the Republican mayor of Mendham Borough, N.J., has also announced that she will compete for the seat.
If Mr. Menendez were to step down before the end of his term, New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Philip D. Murphy, would be responsible for appointing a successor.
Mr. Daibes, who pleaded guilty last year to a financial crime and is awaiting sentencing, is among a small group of builders responsible for converting parts of the polluted Hudson River waterfront into a bustling hive of residential and commercial activity.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the assistant director in charge of the F.B.I.’s New York office, are to announce the charges at a news conference Friday morning.
The charges are not the senator’s first encounter with the law. In 2015, Mr. Menendez was indicted in New Jersey on bribery charges in what federal prosecutors called a scheme between the senator and a wealthy eye doctor to trade political favors for gifts worth close to $1 million, including luxury vacations in the Caribbean and campaign contributions. Mr. Menendez’s corruption trial ended in a mistrial in November 2017, after the jury said it was unable to reach a verdict.
The judge later acquitted Mr. Menendez of several charges and the Justice Department dismissed the others.
Mr. Menendez served in the State Assembly and Senate before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; he was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2005 to fill the vacancy created when Jon Corzine left the body to become governor.
Soon after being sworn in to the Senate, Mr. Menendez faced a federal inquiry led by Chris Christie, then the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, over payments by a nonprofit group that rented a house he owned. It went nowhere, but shadowed him for nearly six years.
Note that Menendez, who is engaged in Armenian lobbying in the Senate, is known for his biased and groundless claims against Azerbaijan.