The New Jersey attorney general’s office launched an inquiry into the handling of a 2018 fatal car crash involving Nadine Menendez, the now-wife of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez.
The incident occurred on December 12, 2018, when Nadine, then dating the Senator for almost a year and known by her maiden name Nadine Arslanian, hit Richard Koop, 49, with her car in Bogota, NJ. The collision resulted in Koop’s immediate death. Menendez, who stated that Koop suddenly ran across the street, resulting in the crash, wasn’t tested for drugs or alcohol on-site. Bogota police, after initial assessment, cleared her of any wrongdoing.
The case resurfaced after both the Senator and Nadine Menendez were indicted on bribery charges on September 22. The charges allege that the couple accepted bribes, including a luxury car to replace the one wrecked in the 2018 accident. It’s said a New Jersey businessman purchased a $60,000 Mercedes for her, expecting the Senator’s influence over a criminal case.
Koop’s family has expressed skepticism regarding the crash’s investigation. Rosemarie Koop-Angelicola, Richard’s sister expressed the family’s need for a comprehensive investigation, pointing out existing discrepancies.
Security camera footage captures the aftermath of the crash, showing Menendez stopping briefly before driving away from the scene. It took three minutes for someone to assist Koop, with the police arriving shortly after.
The police’s dashcam captured the subsequent interaction with Menendez, where she denied them access to her phone.
In response, Nadine Menendez’s attorney, David Schertler, highlighted that the accident, though unfortunate, did not result from any wrongdoing on her part. He added that this event was unrelated to the current indictment’s allegations. Both Senator Menendez and Nadine have pleaded not guilty to the bribery allegations, with a trial set for May 6.