Bob Menendez took Mercedes-Benz as bribe, New Jersey businessman testifies | EUROtoday

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New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez interfered in a legal investigation as a favor to a businessman who helped the senator’s then-girlfriend purchase a brand new Mercedes-Benz convertible value greater than $60,000, a jury was advised.

Jose Uribe, a former insurance coverage dealer in New Jersey, took the stand on Friday in Menendez’s corruption trial and instantly admitted that he bribed Menendez by giving Nadine Menendez cash for the automotive in 2019.

Uribe mentioned he needed Menendez to make use of his political affect to make a New Jersey legal professional normal’s workplace investigation into two of his associates “go away.” The probe was wanting into allegations of insurance coverage fraud.

Jose Uribe leaves federal court on 27 September 2023, in New York
Jose Uribe leaves federal court docket on 27 September 2023, in New York (AP)

As a method to affect Menendez, Uribe helped Nadine safe a $15,000 down cost for the brand new automotive after which later, automotive funds, the court docket heard.

Uribe, who was initially indicted alongside Menendez, his spouse, and two different businessmen, took a plea take care of prosecutors in March.

His testimony is essential for the federal government to show that Menendez engaged in a years-long bribery scheme, accepting lavish presents, gold bars, and money in change for wielding his affect as a senator.

“I knew that giving a car in return for influencing a United States senator to stop a criminal investigation was wrong,” Uribe advised a choose in court docket when he pleaded responsible. “I deeply regret my actions.”

Before the alleged bribery scheme hatched, Uribe was determined to assist two of his associates out of the insurance coverage fraud investigation, prosecutors mentioned. Uribe advised the court docket that he thought-about one of many associates to be like a member of the family to him.

At the identical time, Nadine was allegedly determined for a brand new automotive and had complained to Wael Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman indicted within the scheme, that she wanted one after she was concerned in a automotive crash that killed a pedestrian.

Hana linked Uribe to Nadine, and the 2 allegedly deliberate to get Nadine a automotive in change for utilizing her then-boyfriend’s political affect to make the investigation disappear.

US Senator Bob Menendez (center right), Democrat of New Jersey, leaves with his wife Nadine Menendez the Manhattan Federal Court, in New York City following his arraignment on March 11, 2024
US Senator Bob Menendez (middle proper), Democrat of New Jersey, leaves along with his spouse Nadine Menendez the Manhattan Federal Court, in New York City following his arraignment on March 11, 2024 (AFP by way of Getty Images)

Prosecutors allege Menendez known as Gubir Grewal, the state’s legal professional normal in January 2019, and raised considerations about an ongoing insurance coverage fraud investigation – the one Uribe’s associates have been concerned with.

Grewal testified on Thursday that Menendez insinuated his workplace was improperly dealing with issues “involving Hispanic defendants as compared to non-Hispanic defendants” and his concern needed to do with an ongoing investigation.

Three months later, Nadine was the “proud new owner” of a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible.

As the investigation into Uribe’s associates continued via the autumn of 2019, Uribe allegedly contacted Nadine once more asking her to “please help.”

In messages proven to jurors on Friday, Nadine responded, “I will not let you down.”

Menendez then met with Grewal in his workplace in September 2019 and raised the identical considerations. Grewal testified that he advised Menendez he couldn’t talk about the continuing investigation with him.

Ultimately, the investigation continued and Uribe’s affiliate pleaded responsible.

Menendez, his spouse, Hana, and a 3rd businessman, Fred Daibes, are going through a number of legal expenses for his or her half within the bribery scheme that used Menendez’s political affect as a senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to acquire offers with officers in Qatar and Egypt.

All 4 have pleaded not responsible.