Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) claimed Monday morning he has withdrawn “thousands of dollars in cash” over the past three decades after federal prosecutors indicted him on bribery allegations following the purported discovery of $480,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in gold bars during a search of his home last summer.
Menendez’s claim came during a press conference that New Jersey.com noted was at the Hudson Community College Union City, New Jersey, campus. Notably, the community college is situated in New Jersey’s Eighth Congressional District, which his son, Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), represents.
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” Menendez, who has called the allegations “baseless,” claimed in his first public appearance since the indictment.
“Now, this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account, based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years,” he added:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on Friday that Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted on three counts each for an allegedly corrupt relationship they are accused of engaging in with three New Jersey businessmen. It is through that relationship that they are alleged to have accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in gold, cash, and other bribes “in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a Senator” not only to “protect and enrich” the men, but to “benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
As Breitbart News noted, citing the indictment, authorities say the June 2022 search of the Menendezes’ home led to the discovery of $480,000 in cash at the residence. Pictures from the indictment show stacks of money that were allegedly found “stuffed” in two of Menendez’s jacket pockets. One of the jackets was embroidered with “Senator Menendez” and another embroidered with “Robert Menendez.”
Prosecutors alleged that the DNA and/or fingerprints from one of the three New Jersey businessmen, Fred Daibes, or his driver, were discovered on some of the envelopes where the cash was found. Daibes is a codefendant in the case, along with the two other New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe.
Additionally, multiple gold bars were discovered at the residence. The indictment alleged that either Daibes or Hana provided Menendez with these gold bars. Authorities also recovered a Mercedes worth more than $60,000 that Uribe allegedly gave to the Menenedezes for his alleged help in interfering in a New Jersey criminal investigation into a Uribe associate. Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box housed another $70,000 in cash, according to the indictment.
Menendez and his wife are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Bribery, Conspiracy to Commit Honest Service Fraud, and Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right. This marks the second time he has been indicted on bribery allegations; he was indicted in 2015, but the case resulted in a mistrial.
The case is the United States of America v. Menendez, No. 23 CRIM 490, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.