Concluding a lengthy federal investigation in Manhattan, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, has been charged in a federal corruption indictment. Menendez, 69, was charged nearly six years after his trial on unrelated claims of corruption ended with a hung jury, the New York Times reports. The charges included allegations that Menendez took bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car for a range of corrupt acts, including having him use his influence over foreign affairs to benefit the authoritarian government of Egypt, the Associated Press reports. The indictment accuses the senator’s wife of three years, Nadine Menendez, 56, and a prominent New Jersey real estate developer, Fred Daibes, of participating in the corrupt scheme. Wael Hana, a longtime friend of Ms. Menendez who founded a halal meat certification business in New Jersey, was also charged, as was Jose Uribe, a New Jersey businessman.
Menendez is already facing at least one Democratic challenger in his planned run for re-election to a fourth term in the Senate, and the Republican mayor of Mendham Borough, N.J., has announced that she will compete for the seat. If Menendez were to step down before the end of his term, New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Philip Murphy, would appoint a successor. Daibes, who pleaded guilty last year to a financial crime and is awaiting sentencing, is among a small group of builders responsible for converting parts of the polluted Hudson River waterfront into a bustling hive of residential and commercial activity.