Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their value takes central position at bribery trial | EUROtoday

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Prosecutors confirmed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday a number of cases when he researched the worth of gold as he tried to assist a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and money.

The proof concerning the Democrat’s on-line searches was prominently exhibited to a New York jury as prosecutors traced the historical past of his textual content messages and web queries as he allegedly tried to assist Fred Dabies, a outstanding New Jersey actual property developer who’s on trial with him.

The proof is taken into account essential within the authorities’s effort to show that Menendez and his spouse acquired gold bars, money and a luxurious automotive from 2018 to 2022 from three New Jersey businessmen who benefited from favors Menendez allegedly delivered in return.

Menendez, Dabies and one other businessman and codefendant, Wael Hana, have pleaded not responsible. His spouse, Nadine Menendez, faces trial at a later date after she recovers from breast most cancers surgical procedure. She too has pleaded not responsible.

A 3rd businessman pleaded responsible previous to trial and testified in opposition to the opposite defendants earlier than the trial entered its sixth week in Manhattan federal courtroom.

The gold bars discovered within the residence Menendez shared along with his spouse in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, took a outstanding position early within the trial when an FBI agent described a 2022 search of the residence the senator moved into after the couple was married in 2020, two years after they started courting.

The search discovered gold bars value greater than $100,000 and over $486,000 in money, some stuffed within the pockets of coats hanging in closets or in sneakers and boots. A Mercedes-Benz that prosecutors say was a bribe was parked within the storage.

On Thursday, the subject of gold got here up repeatedly as one other FBI agent described web searches Menendez carried out when he researched the worth of gold in April 2019, twice in May 2021, once more in October 2021, twice in December 2021, as soon as in January 2022 and once more in March and May 2022.

Among the searches, Agent Paul Van Wie mentioned, had been cases when Menendez researched the value of a gram, an oz. and a kilo of gold. The agent mentioned a search of Menendez’s web historical past since 2008 confirmed that the senator had by no means looked for gold costs throughout that span till April 5, 2019.

Defense attorneys have mentioned gold bars discovered within the residence belonged to Nadine Menendez and that she saved the senator in the dead of night about presents she accepted when she was strapped for money.

Prosecutors sought to show Thursday by way of emails, textual content messages and the net searches for the worth of gold that Menendez was interested by gold as he allegedly sought to advocate a brand new federal prosecutor for New Jersey who might assist Dabies get a good consequence to a felony case in opposition to him.

The on-line searches additionally occurred as Menendez allegedly used his worldwide clout to assist Dabies safe a $95 million funding from a Qatari funding fund by taking actions favorable to Qatar’s authorities.

Daibes has been credited with the development of a string of luxurious waterfront buildings, often called the “gold coast,” within the New Jersey city of Edgewater.

Prosecutors confirmed the jury e mail and textual content correspondence Thursday reflecting that Menendez launched Daibes to a member of Qatar’s royal household who was a principal within the funding agency and likewise met with Qatari officers and made public statements supportive of Qatar as the true property deal was being negotiated.

After the deal was signed in May 2022, prosecutors say, Daibes gave Menendez no less than one gold bar.

In the 2022 search of the Menendez residence, FBI brokers discovered two 1-kilogram gold bars and 9 1-ounce gold bars with serial numbers displaying that they had beforehand been possessed by Daibes, together with about 10 envelopes of money with tens of 1000’s of {dollars} bearing the fingerprints or DNA of Daibes, in keeping with the proof proven to jurors.

In August 2021, proof proven to the jury Thursday confirmed, Menendez used an encrypted messaging utility to ship Daibes the textual content of a press launch during which he praised the federal government of Qatar, earlier than texting Daibes: “You might want to send to them. I am just about to release.”

When Menendez was charged final fall, he held the highly effective put up of chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a place he relinquished after he was charged. He has resisted calls, together with from outstanding Democrats, that he resign from the Senate.