Former state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal testifies at Menendez bribery trial

Gurbir Grewal was testifying on behalf of the prosecution.

Chris Keating

Jun 6, 2024, 4:17 PM

Updated 5 days ago


It’s not often that a former New Jersey state attorney general appears in court testifying in a corruption trial of a United States senator. But that’s exactly what was playing out in Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday in the case concerning Sen. Bob Menendez.
Gurbir Grewal, at one time, New Jersey’s top law enforcement agent, arrived at the courthouse in Manhattan by noon. He was testifying on behalf of the prosecution - specifically about alleged favors Menendez was offering in return for bribes of cash gold and a Mercedes for his wife Nadine.
While on the stand, Grewal first explained he didn’t have a personal relationship with Menendez but his cousin is friends with Menendez and she said the senator had requested his cell phone number.
In 2019, Menendez called Grewal on his personal phone. Grewal testified that Menendez, “Had concerns about how the Office of the Insurance Fraud prosecutor was treating Hispanic defendants versus non-Hispanic in a specific industry.”
That industry was trucking.
In that call, Grewal then asked Menendez, “Is this about a pending criminal case?”
Menendez replied, “Yes.”
Grewal would explain that Menendez would say the defense attorney in that case is Michael Critchley. But no other details were offered. To which Grewal said, “Michael is a fine lawyer, he can raise concerns with my staff.”
At a later date, Grewal testified that he met with Menendez at the senator’s Newark office at 1 Gateway Plaza. At the time, Grewal assumed it was about a policy issue.
Grewal said of that meeting, Menendez seemed surprised to see the attorney general with someone. He was joined by his executive assistant attorney Andrew Bruck.
Menendez again brought up the same topic. Grewal said he couldn’t talk about it.
Grewal would tell the court, “I’ve had a practice of not speaking about pending criminal matters…It’s a policy, I’ve had throughout my career.”
When Grewal and Bruck left the meeting, Bruck said to him, "Whoa, that was gross."
Prosecutors say Menendez was trying to interfere in an insurance fraud case at the request of Jose Uribe, whose friend was in the trucking industry and in trouble with the law.
Prosecutors say Uribe bought Nadine Menendez a new Mercedes in return for the senator’s help.
Uribe has pleaded guilty to his involvement in this alleged bribery and fraud scheme and will soon be called as the government’s star witness against Menendez.
The defense meanwhile is trying to show that it was Nadine Menendez who was reaping the benefits of the bribes, not the senator. They say the meeting was harmless and not against the law.
Attorneys have been trying to distance Menendez from the car, cash and gold he’s accused of receiving as bribes.
The government will call Uribe to the stand on Friday to testify about alleged bribes.

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