Menendez bribery trial: Testimony focuses on his wife having help avoiding foreclosure on NJ home

Prosecutors allege Wael Hana gave over $20,000 to Nadine Menendez to avoid foreclosure on her home in Englewood Cliffs.

Chris Keating

May 21, 2024, 4:09 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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More testimony was heard Tuesday at Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial. Federal prosecutors are focused on favors the senator allegedly provided for the owner of a halal meat business in return for bribe money. Co-defendant Wael Hana owns ISEG Halal in Edgewater.
Jurors once again heard from John Moldovan, a former attorney for the company. He testified that he met Hana several years ago and became close with him while the two were living in the Alexander, an apartment complex in Edgewater.
Moldovan told jurors that soon after he started working for Hana as his in-house counsel Hana scored a contract with Egypt, allowing his company to be the sole certifier of all Halal meat heading to Egypt from the United States.
Not long after that deal was done, prosecutors allege Hana gave over $20,000 to Nadine Menendez to avoid foreclosure on her home in Englewood Cliffs.
“She said that the bank was essentially going to foreclose on her house and essentially that Will was going to pay her outstanding debt,” Moldovan testified.
Prosecutors are telling jurors that Menendez and his wife Nadine received bribes in the form of cash and gold from Hana - money that was found stashed in their home.
The defense explained in their opening arguments that the money was not a bribe for Nadine’s husband, but rather a gift. Attorneys said Nadine Menendez was friends with Hana for 15 years, describing the two as having a brother-sister type relationship.
It’s alleged that Nadine also received a Mercedes-Benz, which the prosecution has also alleged was a form of payoff.
The prosecution believes Hana was able to get that deal because Sen. Menendez was allegedly helping Egypt land an arms and military aid deal with the U.S.
Nadine Menendez is also a defendant in this case. It’s been revealed that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, so her trial has been pushed off till July.
The trial will now take a weeklong break after jurors who were treated to a brick-by-brick build of the got stuck in an elevator. This happened a day after they were forced from their usual assembly room because of flooding.
Judge Sidney H. Stein said jurors were trapped in an elevator for several minutes during what was supposed to be a 10-minute late-afternoon break that lasted almost a half hour.
As jurors left for the day, Stein humorously warned them: “Don't all get into one elevator.”
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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