Bob Menendez, Al Franken, and the presumption of innocence

By | September 25, 2023

Judd Legum writes:

“Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey. He has a right to due process and a fair trial.”

That was the response of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to the indictment of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on Friday. Federal prosecutors accused Menendez and his wife, Nadine, of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using his official position to benefit the Government of Egypt and others. Schumer’s description of Menendez as a “dedicated public servant” who is “always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey” is belied by the granular evidence of brazen corruption laid out by prosecutors in the indictment.

As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez had the power to approve or place holds on “foreign military financing and sales of military equipment to Egypt.” In exchange for approving the sale of military equipment to Egypt, the indictment alleges, a New Jersey businessman with close ties to Egyptian officials, Wael Hana, agreed to pay Nadine Menendez though his company.

According to the indictment, Bob Menendez would text Nadine advanced details of official actions approving arms sales. Nadine would then forward these messages to Hana, who would pass the information to the Egyptian government. [Continue reading…]

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