Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial involving gold-bar ‘bribes’ set to kick off

Sen. Bob Menendez’s latest corruption trial is set to kick off Monday with jury selection as the New Jersey pol battles allegations he accepted bribes including bars of gold and a Mercedes convertible.

This will be the the Garden State Democrat’s second federal criminal trial. He went on trial for other corruption and bribery charges in 2017, but the jury ended up deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial.

Menendez, 70, was charged in the latest case alongside his wife Nadine and three businessmen in a sprawling 18-count indictment laying out an alleged scheme in which the Menendezes received bribes from 2018 through 2022.

In exchange, the embattled senator doled out political favors for the governments of Egypt and Qatar and for co-defendants Wael Hana, Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe, prosecutors allege.

The latest corruption trial against Sen. Bob Menendez is slated to kick off Monday with jury selection. Gregory P. Mango

Hana and Daibes will be tried at the same time as Menendez, while Nadine’s trial was postponed until July for health reasons. Uribe has taken a plea deal and is cooperating with the feds and is expected to testify.

Menendez’s lawyers have said that if the pol testifies, they may raise the argument that Nadine was to blame because she allegedly “withheld information” from her husband, leading him to falsely believe nothing illegal was taking place.

The scandal-plagued senator has also been duking it out with prosecutors over whether he should be allowed to call an expert psychiatrist to testify that he got in the habit of hoarding wads of cash at his home because of past traumas, not because he was accepting bribes.

At trial — which is slated to last four to six weeks — jurors will likely hear how the feds seized from the Menendez’ Englewood Cliffs home at least 13 gold bars worth $150,000, $486,461 in cash and a 2019 black Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

US Attorney Damian Williams shows photos of some of the alleged bribes that the feds say Menendez received. AP

The couple also received other costly gifts as bribes such as an exercise machine, an air purifier, home mortgage payments and money for a “low- or no-show job” for Nadine, the feds claim.

The feds seized at least 13 gold bars worth $150,000 from Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs, NJ, home. US District Court

In return, Menendez — while serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — acted as a foreign agent for Qatar and Egypt, including by forking over sensitive US government information to the Egyptian government, the feds have alleged.

He stepped down as chair committee after his indictment.

Menendez has adamantly denied the charges. Nadine, Daibes and Wael have all pleaded not guilty.

His previous bribery case involved him allegedly accepting such gifts as all-expense-paid vacations and private flights from a doctor pal in exchange for Menendez using his office to help the physician get visas for his young girlfriends and battle Medicare over a $8.9 million billing dispute.

Menendez has refused to resign from office. He has said he won’t run for re-election as a Democrat again but may seek to as an independent.

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