Legal Documents Imply Senator Menendez May Sacrifice Wife’s Standing in Corruption Trial

Legal Documents Imply Senator Menendez May Sacrifice Wife’s Standing in Corruption Trial

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) may claim that his wife “withheld information” and led him to believe that nothing improper was going on when the couple reportedly collected cash and gold bars in exchange for political favors, court filings in the senator’s federal corruption case show.

The senator’s legal team outlined the New Jersey Democrat’s potential defense plan in a motion filed in January, which was only released Tuesday after a request from more than a dozen media organizations, including The Post.

In the application, Menendez requests that the US District Court for the Southern District of New York separate his case from that of his co-defendants, including his wife, Nadine, since if he testifies, he may reveal “marital communications” that could expose her.

“At trial, as part of his defense, Senator Menendez may elect to testify to communications with his wife that serve to materially decrease any inference of culpability on Senator Menendez’s part,” the text of the motion adds. ”

Senator Menendez will explain, for example, what he and his wife discussed concurrently with their dinners with Egyptian officials (which colored his understanding of the purpose of such dinners); the explanations that Nadine provided for why [co-defendants Wael Hanna and Jose Uribe] had provided her certain monetary items; the reasons why he sent his wife a series of questions that other Senators purportedly intended to ask an Egyptian official; and many more topics.

Menendez’s attorneys contend that the senator’s answers “and the marital communications” will “exonerate” the three-term senator “by demonstrating the absence of any improper intent on Senator Menendez’s part.” “They may inculpate Nadine by demonstrating how she withheld information from Senator Menendez or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place,” the motion goes on to say.

The senator’s defense team also contends that to prevent Nadine from claiming that her conversations with her husband were confidential, which would undermine the defense strategy, the couple should be tried separately. Last Monday, US District Judge Sidney Stein ruled that Menendez and his wife will be tried separately on bribery accusations. Bob and Nadine Menendez have pleaded not guilty to all 18 felony counts in the sweeping bribery investigation.

They are accused of collecting bribes totaling over $150,000 in gold bars, $566,000 in cash payments, a Mercedes-Benz convertible, and other extravagant gifts to help businessmen Hana, Uribe, and Fred Daibes. The Justice Department also claims that the Menendezes were functioning as foreign agents for the Egyptian and Qatari governments.

The senator is set to stand trial on May 6. His wife’s trial is set to begin on July 8.

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