Legal experts weigh in on Menendez indictment, suggest ‘monster’ charges point to likely conviction

Sen. Bob Menendez (D.N.J.) finds himself embroiled in a wave of legal trouble, with multiple legal experts telling FOX News Digital about the “monstrous” indictment filed against him last week. He said there was a strong possibility of a conviction based on strong evidence. On trial.

Menendez’s indictment alleges that the senator and his wife had “corrupt relationships” with three New Jersey businessmen from at least 2018 to 2022.

“Today, I am announcing three bribery charges that my office has filed against Sen. Robert Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, and New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Duives. We are pleased to announce that we have obtained an indictment for the…

“It’s hard to come up with an honest explanation for the senator having this much cash, gold, and other valuables in his possession,” said Philip Holloway, a criminal defense attorney and former assistant district attorney. Told. “This case will be very difficult, if not impossible, to defend. I think this is the end of Menendez’s time in the Senate, and so are his days breathing free air.” We are about to welcome you.”

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Sen. Bob Menendez (D.N.J.) finds himself embroiled in a wave of legal trouble, with multiple legal experts telling FOX News Digital about the “monstrous” indictment filed against him last week. He said there was a strong possibility of a conviction based on strong evidence. On trial. (Getty Images / File | Department of Justice)

“The prosecution went out of its way to be very specific about some of the evidence and artifacts of the alleged crime, including cash and gold bars. There is undoubtedly more to this case than has yet to be revealed. There are a lot of them,” Holloway said. Added. “I suspect there will be wiretaps, audio recordings obtained through electronic communications such as emails and text messages, and eyewitness testimony from people with direct knowledge of the matters involved. In short, the indictment appears to be very strong. is.”

The couple “received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments,” according to the indictment. bribe of a few dollars Using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes in exchange for benefiting the Arab Republic of Egypt. ”

The alleged bribes included gold, cash, mortgage payments, compensation for missed or no-show work, luxury cars, and “other things of value.”

After the investigation began, Menendez revealed that his family received gold bars in 2020.

Prosecutors said Menendez provided confidential U.S. government information to Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman who “secretly supported the Egyptian government.”

Mr. Menendez allegedly pressured Department of Agriculture officials to protect the business monopoly granted to Mr. Hana. egyptian government. In return, Mr. Hana returned profits from the monopoly business to Mr. Menendez, according to the indictment.

FBI agent Williams said at a news conference that while executing a search warrant at Menendez’s home, he discovered “approximately $500,000 in cash stuffed in an envelope in a closet” and stuffed into the senator’s jacket pocket. Ta.

Like Holloway, San Francisco criminal defense attorney Joseph Talley said the “monstrous” indictment was “very strong” and alarming for Menendez.

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bob menendez

Menendez’s indictment alleges that the senator and his wife had “corrupt relationships” with three New Jersey businessmen from at least 2018 to 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File)

“The indictment charges Robert Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez, and three businessmen who are accused of being co-conspirators: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Duives,” Talley said. Ta. “Senator Menendez faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on all charges.”

“The indictment is very strong. Why? Because within the indictment itself, there is physical evidence presented that strongly points to guilt,” he added.

Like others who have handled charges against the senator, Talley believes the case involving Menendez will be a “long process.”

“If I had to predict, I think the case will be settled before trial to minimize Sen. Menendez’s time in prison, but both sides will know what is true and what is not.” This is going to be a long process in part because we need to sort out what’s being exaggerated in the indictment,” he said. “Government prosecutors will not budge, so the defense will have to continue blaming them for any investigation they present, which could undermine the prosecution’s case.”

Echoing Holloway and Talley, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor David Gellman told Fox that based on what has been revealed, Menendez is “very concerned about these charges right now.” “It should be,” he said.

On its strength, Gellman said the indictment “appears to be supported by physical evidence” recovered from the senator’s home.

Sen. Bob Menendez spotted at the Capitol

“Senator Menendez faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on all charges,” San Francisco criminal defense attorney Joseph Talley told Fox News Digital. (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call Inc., via Getty Images / File)

Mr. Gellman also outlined how Mr. Menendez’s prolonged ouster could affect the upcoming New Jersey Senate race if he does not resign.

“The charges are very serious and directly related to his public office. However, it is not the first time a senator has faced such charges. If he resigns, the governor will have to replace him until the end of his term. can be appointed.” germane. “If there is a conviction, or if the conviction continues, which it will be, if he does not resign, the Senate will hold an impeachment hearing. If he does not resign and the election If looming, this could help Democratic challengers in the primary.” ”

Talley made a similar point about the 2024 election, saying, “Looking at the political climate, Democrats will rally around their colleague and keep him in office as long as possible.”

“They will likely take a wait-and-see approach to Congressional sanctions and punishment and wait until the criminal activity dies down,” Talley added.

Gerald Filitti, a senior adviser at The Lawfare Project, said the indictment “reveals substantial evidence of alleged wrongdoing by the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who committed illegal acts in the interests of foreign governments.” “It paints a detailed, well-documented and damning picture.”

Filitti said, “At a time when the Justice Department is under increasing scrutiny in what some say is a two-tiered judicial system, the allegations that Sen. Menendez tried to influence state and federal prosecutors in exchange for cash are… This is particularly worrying.” “The fact that Mr. Menendez was advising the president on who to nominate as federal prosecutor calls into question the fairness of the federal criminal justice system.”

Filitti discussed Menendez’s fate in comparison to previous cases filed against senators, saying the evidence outlined in the indictment “speaks to a higher probability.” [Menendez] He will be found guilty at trial. ”

Menendez and Kim break up

Sen. Bob Menendez (left), who is facing federal corruption charges, is being challenged in the 2024 Democratic primary by Rep. Andy Kim (D.N.J.). (Getty Images/File)

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Attorney and Republican strategist Alexandra Wilkes, like many of her colleagues, believes the “strong indictment” contains “clear evidence of bribery for political favors.” said.

“What is so shocking is the arrogance and brazenness of the senators. The meetings were held in public, and the payments and gifts were received directly, without any attempt at concealment,” Wilkes said.

For Wilkes, it’s too early to tell whether Menendez will face prison time or be removed from office, but the “gold bars” and “money in the jacket” are “not acceptable by New Jersey standards.” Even when you look at it, it’s just as bad as a cartoon.”

Others, including New York criminal defense and civil rights attorney Ken Belkin, argue that betting against the senator in this case is not a wise position.

“He won one federal indictment against all odds. I don’t necessarily think it’s against him,” Belkin said. “There is widespread distrust of federal prosecutors among a large segment of the population.”

Mr. Belkin pointed to “spousal privilege,” highlighting the fact that “communication between husband and wife is generally privileged,” and said the issue would be “filed by a motion to suppress some of the government’s policies.” This would provide fertile ground for the defense to assert that privilege.” evidence. “

Bob Menendez and wife Nadine

On May 16, 2022, Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.) and his wife Nadine arrive at the White House for a reception. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

at least a dozen new jersey The National Democratic Party called on Menendez to resign following the indictment.

Calls have skyrocketed since New Jersey’s governor took office. phil murphy Democratic lawmakers said allegations that Menendez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for favors were “very disturbing” and that Menendez should resign immediately. If Menendez resigns, Murphy will appoint an interim senator to serve until Menendez’s current term ends in 2025.

“These are serious charges that concern national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Murphy said Friday. The governor stressed that Mr. Menendez is innocent until proven guilty, but added, “The allegations are very serious and undermine Senator Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of this state. I demand his immediate resignation.”

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Menendez, who briefly resigned as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has denied all wrongdoing and insisted he will not resign.

“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty, and I intend to continue fighting for the people of New Jersey with the same success I have over the past 50 years,” Menendez said in a statement. “This is the same record of success that these same leaders have long praised. I don’t understand why there are people who are so quick to criticize Latinos and try to throw them out of their seats. I’m not going anywhere.”

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo and Adam Sabes contributed to this report.

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