Jury selection begins in federal corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez; 2nd trial in the last decade

Judge Sidney Stein started the day by settling a dispute over the sharing of evidence between the defense and prosecution.

Chris Keating

May 13, 2024, 8:44 AM

Updated 8 days ago


U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez reported to federal court in Manhattan on Monday – his second corruption trial in less than a decade. The Democratic senator is on trial facing charges that he allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
Jury selection was the main focus on the first day of the trial. It was a fairly slow process.
New Yorkers who did not wish to serve on the jury have been meeting privately with the judge to explain why they should be excused. So far, 38 have been excused.
Menendez has been sitting quietly throughout the proceeding. He arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m.
Noticeably absent was his wife, Nadine. She is also a defendant in this case and will be tried separately, likely in July.
Wael Hana and Fred Diaibes, the two defendants accused of paying the bribes to the senator and his wife, were also at the courthouse.
Judge Sidney Stein started the day by settling a dispute over the sharing of evidence between the defense and prosecution.
Stein eventually told the two sides, “There’s been too much gamesmanship. I want it to end now. Everybody has to cooperate in good faith."
Once that was ironed out, dozens of potential jurors were led into the courtroom.
The judge explained to them that Menendez is accused of helping the Egyptian government land an arms deal with the United States. He’s also accused of interfering in a criminal case for a friend of one of those other defendants.
Menendez is also accused of helping one of those accused businessmen in keeping his Halal food business with the government of Egypt intact, according to the indictment. In return, federal prosecutors say Menendez was given $480,000 in cash and thousands of dollars in gold bars. Prosecutors say Nadine Menendez received a Mercedes Benz.
The FBI says evidence of these crimes was found in the senator’s New Jersey home.
Leading up to this trial, Menendez has said he is innocent of all charges and was simply working for the good of the public.
This is not the first time Menendez has been on trial. He was tried in Newark Federal Court in 2017. That case resulted in a hung jury.
The pool of potential jurors will report back to court on Tuesday as jury selection continues. Jurors will have to return at 9:45 a.m.

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