December 28, 2023

Judges Urged to Reject Sen. Menendez Plea Deal

Federal prosecutors opposed a two-month delay for the bribery trial of New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez and his co-defendants, urging U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein to reject their request on Tuesday.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, argued that the current expedited schedule was reasonable, and the defendants' plea for an adjournment, made more than two months after the schedule was set, lacked justification for a significant deviation.

Last week, Menendez's defense lawyers contended that they lacked adequate time to review approximately 6.7 million documents ahead of the May trial, citing the complexity of the case.

In response, prosecutors asserted that they had made sincere efforts to facilitate an efficient review of the discovery.

"The government has taken great pains to organize the discovery and to assist counsel's review of it," the prosecutors stated in their filing.

They argued that the defendants' claims of needing additional time for investigative steps, challenges to the indictment's sufficiency, constitutional challenges to a federal criminal statute, and filing suppression motions were not unique to this case and did not warrant a multiple-month adjournment.

Menendez, along with his wife Nadine and three New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, faces charges in a federal bribery scheme.

The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with the businessmen, accepting bribes in exchange for using Menendez's influence as a senator to benefit them and the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The alleged bribes included cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low- or no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other valuables.

Menendez is also accused of sharing confidential U.S. government information with Hana to support the Egyptian government secretly.

The senator faces additional charges of acting as a foreign agent and accepting bribes to benefit the Egyptian government through his influence as a senator. Menendez pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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