Prosecution Turns Up the Heat in Round 2 of Menendez Trial

( – Jury selection for Senator Robert Menendez’s second corruption trial began on Monday, May 13th. Menendez is accused of accepting bribes for political favors. Menendez, 70, and his wife Nadine, 57, have both been charged with accepting gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, mortgage and car payments, and other bribes from three businessmen; Fred Daibes, Wawl Hana, and Jose Uribe, in exchange for political favors, some of which benefited Qatar and Egypt.

Menendez, Daibes, and Hana are on trial. Uribe pleaded guilty and will be testifying against the defendants. Uribe admitted to buying a Mercedes Benz for Nadine Menendez as a bribe to get the senator to use his influence to assist business associates under criminal investigation. Nadine’s trial has been delayed until at least July due to health concerns.

Menendez continues to deny all charges. Menendez said he expects to be exonerated and may run for office again in November. His legal team may use his wife, Nadine, as a scapegoat claiming Menendez was unaware of any illegal dealings as his wife was used as an intermediary between Menendez and the businessmen making the payments.

Investigators searched the Menendez home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey in 2022 and found cash stowed away in coat pockets, boots, and a safe. Menendez’s legal team may attempt to claim Menendez has mental instability, causing him to fear scarcity due to a troubling childhood. Judge Sidney H. Stein, however, ruled on Wednesday that a psychiatrist would not be allowed to testify for the defense in this matter.

Judge Stein questioned prospective jurors on Monday. Many said they would be unable to serve for the duration of the six to seven-week trial. Around 36 prospective jurors were dismissed after being questioned by Judge Stein. No jurors were seated on Monday. Opening statements were delayed until the jury was selected. Menendez said he appreciates “the jury’s sacrifice, their time and commitment.”

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