The indictment against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his spouse has been revised by federal prosecutors. The updated indictment accuses the couple of conspiring for Menendez to serve as an agent of Egypt and its officials.
The indictment, made public this past Thursday in a Manhattan federal court, alleges that Menendez violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This law mandates individuals to officially register if they represent a foreign entity. It should be noted that as a Congress member, Menendez was legally barred from representing any foreign government.
Attempts to get a response from Menendez’s Senate office and his legal counsel on Thursday went unanswered.
Details from the indictment shed light on a conspiracy taking place between January 2018 and June 2022. A notable event during this period was a May 2019 meeting in Menendez’s Senate office in Washington, D.C. The meeting included Menendez, his wife, business associate Wael Hana, and an Egyptian intelligence official. The agenda of this meeting revolved around an American citizen injured in a 2015 airstrike executed by the Egyptian military with a U.S.-produced Apache helicopter.
Post this meeting, Hana received a text from the Egyptian official implying a potential favor for Menendez’s intervention. Hana’s response indicated an agreement to this implied favor.
This charge follows on the heels of another allegation against the Democratic senator and his wife. They are suspected of accepting extravagant bribes, including gold bars and luxury vehicles, from business tycoons in New Jersey seeking the senator’s influence in foreign matters. Both Menendez and his spouse have declared their innocence.
Furthermore, Hana, the named business associate, denied charges of planning a bribery scheme last month.
Both old and updated indictments suggest that Menendez, following discussions with an Egyptian representative, urged the then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to intensify U.S. involvement in significant Nile River dam negotiations concerning Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
While presiding over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez allegedly secretly aided Egyptian representatives. This covert support included drafting letters to Senate peers advocating for a $300 million aid release to Egypt and providing Egyptian officials with private U.S. military aid data.
Despite the weight of these allegations, the 69-year-old senator firmly denies any wrongdoing. Investigations into Menendez’s possessions last year unveiled gold bars and a significant amount of concealed cash in his residence.
The renewed indictment intensifies the pressure on Menendez, with over 30 Senate Democrats, including fellow New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, urging his resignation. Nonetheless, Menendez remains undeterred, asserting that he has no intention of vacating his Senate seat.
The political future for Menendez remains uncertain, with no declaration regarding his reelection campaign. His position is further complicated as New Jersey Representative Andy Kim has initiated his primary campaign, and Michigan Senator Gary Peters, the leader of the Senate Democrats’ campaign unit, has voiced his desire for Menendez’s resignation.