Bob Menendez Trial Underway as Jury Selection Takes Place

( – Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) indicted Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), his wife, and three co-defendants in September 2023. Subsequently, they filed superseding indictments against the defendants the following month and in January and March 2024. The judge agreed to try the senator and his wife separately. Jury selection recently began in the trial of Menendez and two of his co-defendants. The third pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Media outlets reported that US District Judge Sidney H. Stein outlined the 18 felony charges in the SDNY’s third superseding indictment and warned prosecutors and defense lawyers “to operate in good faith.”

Prosecutors estimated that presenting their case would take them as long as six and a half weeks. Stein told reporters after the first day of jury selection that he expected the trial to conclude in six to seven weeks.

Menendez sat at the defendants’ table with his arms crossed and he tapped his fingers occasionally. He didn’t turn to observe the jury to see how many raised their hands when Stein asked prospective panelists if they had any reason why they should be excluded from consideration.

Prosecutors alleged that Menendez and his wife “provided sensitive US government information” and took “other steps that secretly aided” Egyptian officials in exchange for bribes from one of his co-defendants. He also faces an accusation that he made positive statements about Qatar to help his other co-defendant obtain a multimillion-dollar investment from a company with ties to the Qatari government.

The indictment also accuses the senator of attempting to impede federal investigations into his reportedly criminal activities and those of his wife and one of his co-defendants. Likewise, prosecutors claim he intervened in a state-level inquiry into an associate of the defendant who entered into a plea agreement with the US Attorney’s Office earlier this year.

Menendez has maintained his innocence. Prosecutors indicted him in 2015 on federal corruption charges. However, the judge overseeing the case declared a mistrial after the jury deadlocked in late 2017. The Department of Justice decided not to retry the case in late January 2018.

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