New Jersey Businessman Testifies Against Sen. Bob Menendez In Bribery Case

A New Jersey businessman, Jose Uribe, testified on Friday in the bribery case against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), detailing a deal he believed would cost him $200,000 to $250,000 to halt state investigations into his friends and family’s businesses. Uribe’s testimony in Manhattan federal court is pivotal for the prosecution against Menendez, two other businessmen, and Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez.

Uribe, 57, who admitted guilt in a plea deal earlier this year, testified that he was close friends with Wael Hana, one of Menendez’s co-defendants. Uribe recounted how Hana told him in early 2018 that the New Jersey attorney general’s investigations into his trucking business and Hana’s insurance business could be stopped if he paid $200,000 to $250,000. Hana suggested that Nadine Menendez, who was dating Menendez at the time, would relay the request to the senator.

Uribe hosted a fundraiser on July 13, 2018, for Menendez, raising $50,000. He described an afterparty with Menendez and Nadine Menendez, saying there was no discussion of the expected political favors. However, his confidence waned in the fall when the attorney general’s office sought to interview his employee, prompting Uribe to express his dissatisfaction to Hana via text messages, where he referred to Menendez as “your friend.”

During an October 2018 dinner arranged by Hana, Uribe met with Menendez and Nadine Menendez but again found no progress on his requests. By March 2019, Uribe began directly communicating with Nadine Menendez, promising her a car if she succeeded in getting her husband to halt the investigations. “She agreed to the terms,” Uribe said, explaining that he believed she would use Menendez’s influence to stop the probes.

Former New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal testified on Thursday that Menendez attempted to discuss a criminal probe with him in early 2019 and later in a September 2019 meeting, but Grewal declined, adhering to his policy of not discussing active investigations.

Uribe pleaded guilty in March, admitting he gave Nadine Menendez a Mercedes-Benz in exchange for her husband’s influence to halt investigations into his associate’s businesses. The car was purchased after Nadine Menendez’s previous vehicle was totaled in an accident where she struck and killed a pedestrian. She faced no criminal charges for the incident.

Menendez, 70, denies the charges, which include accepting gold bars, cash, and a luxury car in exchange for political favors. He is also accused of assisting a New Jersey business associate in securing a lucrative deal with the Egyptian government and using his international influence to benefit a friend with a multimillion-dollar Qatari investment deal.

As the trial continues, Menendez’s defense team will cross-examine Uribe next week. The senator maintains his innocence, stating, “Next week we get the truth,” as he left the court.

The ongoing trial casts a shadow on Menendez’s political career, which has seen him serve as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before being forced to step down after the charges were filed.

 

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  • T
    June 15, 2024
    TPS

    Not thrown under the bus, just another politician filling his pockets peddling favors. IMO

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