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Top US Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption trial begins | Courts News



Top US Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption trial begins | Courts News

Jury choice begins in trial accusing high Democrat of accepting bribes and performing as unregistered overseas agent.

Jury choice has begun within the corruption trial of Bob Menendez, a high United States senator who’s accused of accepting bribes in change for a spread of favours and performing as an unregistered agent of the Egyptian authorities.

Menendez, 70, faces 16 legal costs and is being tried alongside two New Jersey businessmen in Manhattan federal court docket.

Menendez sat along with his legal professionals on Monday and listened as Choose Sidney H Stein instructed a number of dozen potential jurors concerning the costs.

The choose instructed them the “sitting US senator from the state of New Jersey” had been charged in a conspiracy by which he allegedly “agreed to just accept bribes and accepted bribes”.

Menendez’s spouse, Nadine, has additionally been charged however can be tried individually. All 4 defendants have pleaded not responsible.

In September, prosecutors accused Menendez and his spouse of accepting money, gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible in change for the senator wielding his political affect in New Jersey and serving to the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

Authorities stated Menendez promised to assist Egypt receive arms gross sales and different army support, and helped co-defendant Wael Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman, receive a profitable monopoly on the certification of halal meat exports to Egypt.

Prosecutors additionally stated Menendez tried to assist his different co-defendant, outstanding New Jersey developer Fred Daibes, receive tens of millions of {dollars} from a Qatari funding fund, and sought to disrupt a federal legal case in opposition to Daibes in New Jersey.

A lot of the money obtained by the couple was stuffed inside clothes at their residence, prosecutors stated.

A couple of weeks after the preliminary indictment was unsealed, US authorities in October additionally charged Menendez – who beforehand chaired the influential Senate Overseas Affairs Committee – with serving as an unregistered agent of Egypt.

Talking to reporters in late September, Menendez stated he was assured he can be exonerated within the case and would proceed his political profession.

“I firmly consider that when all of the info are offered, not solely will I be exonerated, however I nonetheless can be New Jersey’s senior senator,” he stated.

He additionally sought to defend his file on Egypt.

“All through my 30 years within the Home of Representatives and the Senate, I’ve all the time labored to carry accountable these international locations together with Egypt for human rights abuses, the repression of its citizenry, civil society, and extra,” he instructed reporters on the time.

Menendez is up for re-election in November and has stated he may run as an impartial if he’s exonerated within the legal case.

However current polls present he’s deeply unpopular amongst New Jersey voters and plenty of Democratic Social gathering senators, together with New Jersey’s Cory Booker, have referred to as for him to resign.

Fewer than one in six voters polled in March by Monmouth College and Emerson Faculty Polling/PIX11/The Hill stated they permitted of Menendez’s job efficiency. Even fewer stated they might vote for him as an impartial.

That is Menendez’s second legal trial: In 2017, a New Jersey federal choose declared a mistrial after jurors deadlocked on whether or not he broke the regulation by offering assist to a rich ophthalmologist in change for lavish items and political contributions.

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