Closing arguments to begin this week at Sen. Menendez's bribery trial

This week presents one last chance for both the prosecution and defense to sway jurors in their favor.

News 12 Staff

Jul 7, 2024, 9:29 PM

Updated 12 days ago

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Jurors at the federal trial of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez will return Monday for what will likely be the start of closing arguments.
This week presents one last chance for both the prosecution and defense to sway jurors in their favor.
“From my perspective, the government has failed from every aspect of its case,” Menendez said on July 3 as he left the courthouse with an air of confidence. He added that he would not take the stand and testify because it would not benefit his case.
His attorneys rested their case after presenting only five witnesses while trying to clear Menendez of charges that include bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and acting as a foreign agent.
Federal prosecutors have shown jurors photos of $480,000 in cash and gold bars they say were stashed at Menendez’s home where he lived with wife Nadine.
Jurors also heard a jeweler testify that Nadine sold off $250,000 worth of gold before the FBI raided the home in 2022.
To prove its case, prosecutors in the Southern District of Manhattan have put on the stand former State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and U.S. Attorney Phil Sellinger. Both testified that Menendez reached out to ask about a criminal case linked to Jose Uribe.
Uribe testified he bribed Menendez and Nadine with a new Mercedes and expensive dinners, saying, “I agreed to provide a car for Nadine to get the power and influence from Senator Menendez...The deal is to kill and stop all investigation.”
Menendez, however, has said payments for the Mercedes were a loan. As for the cash, the senator’s sister Caridad Gonzalez said on the stand that the hoarding of cash was cultural.
“It was normal, he’s a Cuban,” she said. “Every Cuban that came to the U.S. in the 50s, 60s and 70s – you’ll find cash in the home. In Cuba, they take everything away from you.”
As for Menendez, signing-off on military aid to Egypt, it was explained that it was his job as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not bribes from defendant Wael Hana.
Judge Sidney Stein has said he fully expects jurors to deliberate at some point this week.


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