Judge Maintains Menendez’s Corruption Trial Schedule

A move by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his lawyers aiming to delay his corruption trial has been struck down by a federal judge. While the senator’s attorneys were trying to delay the trial by two months, Judge Sdney Stein ruled that the initial scheduled timeline will remain unchanged and the trial will begin on May 5, 2024.

The same day will see the start of his wife’s trial and those of the three New Jersey businessmen involved in the bribery scheme with him.

Menendez’s defense team based their request for extra time on a huge amount of discovery, which includes 6.7 million documents. They also partly put it on the “unprecedented foreign-agent charge against a sitting Senator.”

However, Stein, pointing out prosecutors had told Menendez’s defense team what to expect, rejected the arguments.

“The fact that discovery has been voluminous is consistent with the parties’ stated expectations on October 2 and does not justify a two month adjournment of the schedule. In fact, the volume of discovery material is less than defendants were concerned it was when they sought the [two month delay] on December 20,” the judge said.

Menendez stands accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe.

“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” his indictment stated.

According to the DOJ, officials found four gold bars in the senator’s home that were linked to Daibes, who had lost the gold bars among 18 others in 2013 and had gotten police to recover them. The serial numbers of the gold bars found in Menendez’s home about a decade later would later match four of the stolen and returned gold bars belonging to Daibes, gold bars he claimed had distinct stamps and serial numbers.

Some cash found in Menendez’s home were also reportedly traced back to the businessmen he worked with.

He was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. His wife was also complicit in the crime, prosecutors say, even though she has pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against her, just like Menendez and all three businessmen.