Federal prosecutors accused Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on Thursday of secretly acting as an agent of the government of Egypt while serving as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, adding to the slate of criminal charges for which he was indicted last month. An updated indictment added the charge of conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent, alleging that Menendez; his wife, Nadine Menendez; and a New Jersey businessman, Wael Hana, used his Senate position to benefit the government of Egypt without registering as foreign agents. The new indictment comes after a federal grand jury charged all three — along with two other New Jersey businessmen — with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion, Politico reports. The original charges accused the Menendezes of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in cash, gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, and home mortgage payments. In exchange, prosecutors said, the couple benefitted the three New Jersey businesspeople and the government of Egypt between 2018 and 2022, “including with respect to foreign military sales and foreign military financing.”
The new indictment accused the Menendezes and Hana of a more extreme level of advocacy on behalf of Egypt, saying that the senator “promised to take and took a series of acts on behalf of Egypt, including on behalf of Egyptian military and intelligence officials,” and that his wife and Hana “communicated requests and directives from Egyptian officials” to the senator. In May 2019, the senator, his wife, and Hana met with an Egyptian intelligence official at Menendez’s Senate office, where they discussed an American citizen who had been injured in a 2015 airstrike by the Egyptian military using a U.S.-manufactured helicopter, the indictment said. The incident resulted in some members of Congress objecting to awarding military aid to Egypt. Menendez searched for information about the incident online and a week later the Egyptian official told Hana in an encrypted message that if Menendez were to help resolve the matter, “he will sit very comfortably.” Hana replied: “orders, consider it done.” The indictment also alleges that in 2020, after Nadine Menendez arranged a meeting between her husband and the same Egyptian official about a dam on the Nile River that “was generally regarded as one of the most important foreign policy issues for Egypt,” Menendez wrote to the then-Treasury secretary and the then-secretary of state pushing them to resolve negotiations over the dam.