In closing, prosecutor says Sen. Bob Menendez’s behavior in response to bribes was ‘wildly abnormal’

Jul 9, 2024, 8:01 AM | Updated: 8:04 am

NEW YORK (AP) — A prosecutor accused Sen. Bob Menendez on Tuesday of engaging in “wildly abnormal” behavior in response to bribes during a closing argument at the Democrat’s New York City corruption trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni made the accusation as he continued a summation he began a day earlier before a Manhattan federal court jury.

Menendez, 70, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted bribes including gold and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from 2018 to 2022 from three New Jersey businessmen who wanted his help in their business ventures.

His trial entered its ninth week on Monday. His lawyer was expected to begin a closing argument on the New Jersey senator’s behalf later on Tuesday.

Menendez is on trial with two of the businessmen — Wael Hana and Fred Daibes. Hana, who prosecutors say enlisted Menendez to help him gain and protect a monopoly on the certification of meat exported from the U.S. to Egypt, and Daibes, an influential real estate developer, have also both pleaded not guilty. A third businessman pleaded guilty and testified at the trial.

Early Tuesday, Monteleoni highlighted what he described as Menendez’s attempt to influence former New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in early 2019 to drop a criminal case on behalf of one of the bribe-paying businessmen with a false claim that investigators were discriminating against Hispanic truckers.

Grewal, now head of enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission, testified during the trial that he firmly rejected Menendez’s efforts to intervene in criminal probes by directing him to tell a New Jersey defense lawyer already involved in the case to register any complaints with a judge or the trial team.

The encounters with Grewal were cited by Monteleoni as examples of things Menendez did that the prosecutor said “were wildly abnormal.”

“Menendez is smart. Menendez is careful,” Monteleoni said, noting that the senator claimed discrimination in the trucking industry rather than directly asking that an investigation be shut down because he knew the latter would be wrong.

He said claiming discrimination gave Menendez deniability if anyone ever accused him of trying to pressure New Jersey’s attorney general to drop a probe.

In reality, though, Menendez made the approaches to Grewal in return for a new Mercedes-Benz that the businessmen promised would be delivered to his then-girlfriend, Nadine Arslanian, who became his wife in fall 2020, Monteleoni said.

Nadine Menendez, 57, also is charged in the case, but her trial has been postponed while she recovers from breast cancer surgery.

Menendez has resisted calls, even by some prominent Democrats, that he resign, though he did have to relinquish his powerful post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the charges were unveiled last fall.

Several weeks ago, Menendez filed to run for reelection this year as an independent.

United States News

FILE — Hunter Biden arrives at federal court with his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, June 11, 2024, i...

Associated Press

Hunter Biden seeks dismissal of tax, gun cases, citing decision to toss Trump’s classified docs case

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss tax and gun cases against him, citing a ruling in Florida this week that threw out a separate prosecution of former President Donald Trump. The requests in federal court in Delaware and California underscore the potential ramifications of U.S. District […]

26 minutes ago

FILE - This undated booking photo provided by the Butler County, Ohio, Jail shows John Allen Carter...

Associated Press

Man gets 3 years in death of fiancée who went missing in Ohio in 2011

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The fiancé of an Ohio art student who went missing nearly 13 years ago was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison. John Carter, 36, had been charged with two counts of murder when he was arrested in March 2023. He eventually pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter as part […]

28 minutes ago

Bob Newhart, shown at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 2016, died on July ...

Kevin Stone

Bob Newhart, deadpan master of sitcoms and phone monologues, dies at 94

Bob Newhart, the deadpan comedian who became one of the most popular television stars of his time, has died at 94.

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

Boy who was reported missing from a resort near Disney World found dead in water

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A 3-year-old boy who was reported missing from a resort near Walt Disney World in central Florida early Thursday was found dead in a body of water on the resort’s grounds several hours later, the sheriff’s office said. The boy was initially believed to have wandered away from the resort sometime […]

45 minutes ago

FILE - Pageant winners throw out beads during the Memphis PRIDE Festival & Parade, June 4, 2022, in...

Associated Press

Federal appeals court dismisses lawsuit over Tennessee’s anti-drag show ban

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit challenging first-in-the-nation law designed to place strict limits on drag shows, reversing a lower court ruling that deemed the statute unconstitutional and blocked its enforcement in part of the state. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Memphis-based LGBTQ+ […]

46 minutes ago

Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson, sixth from right, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg,...

Associated Press

Long Beach breaks ground on $1.5B railyard expansion at port to fortify US supply chain

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other officials visited the port of Long Beach on Thursday to break ground on a $1.5 billion railyard expansion project that will more than triple the volume of rail cargo the dock can handle annually. Dubbed “America’s Green Gateway,” the project will expand the existing […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

In closing, prosecutor says Sen. Bob Menendez’s behavior in response to bribes was ‘wildly abnormal’