Federal prosecutors are investigating whether New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez accepted gold bars from a convicted felon in exchange for help, NBC reports.
Prosecutors believe that Menendez may have offered to advocate with the Justice Department for Fred Daibes, a man accused of banking crimes, in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold bars.
Daibes is a New Jersey developer who once served as a bank chairman. Prosecutors believe he may have given Menendez’s wife, Nadine Arslanian, up to $400,000 worth of gold bars for help with getting away from federal bank fraud charges that could have landed him in prison for a decade.
Menendez disclosed in 2020 that he received the gold bars, but that was only after a federael criminal investigation was already underway, raising some eyebrows.
“For purposes of the Federal Extortion Act, it makes no difference if the senator took an official act so long as he accepted the money and there was knowledge the money was in exchange for that official influence, even if he carried out what he had promised he would do,” said NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos.
A federal grand jury in Manhattan is now reportedly considering whether to slap Menendez with corruption charges.