Menendez trial has day off following judge’s warning to lawyers of making it a 'bad soap opera’

Defense will continue presenting its case as the trial resumes on Wednesday.

Lanette Espy

Jul 2, 2024, 1:24 PM

Updated 17 days ago

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The jury on the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez will have the day off today after attorneys for the senator got their chance on Monday to defend their client against accusations that he was taking bribes.
The first witness called to defend the senator was his sister, 80-year-old Caridad Gonzalez. His sister-in-law Katia Tabourian also took the stand.
Gonzalez testified it's not uncommon for Menendez to keep thousands of dollars in cash because their family is Cuban and were taught that banks can't be trusted.
Sen. Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are accused of taking bribes of cash and gold from defendants Fred Daibes and Wael Hana. The feds allege Daibes wanted help in landing a $95 million investment deal with the royal family of Qatar. Menendez is also accused of approving military aid for Egypt.
As prosecutors in the trial now rest, they have said that the cash found in the Menendez home was bribe money.
Following Gonzalez, Nadine’s sister, Katia Tabourian took the stand. She had an explanation for the gold bars and said the family is from Lebanon where it's common for people to give gifts of gold.
The judge, meanwhile, warned Sen. Menendez's lawyers, saying "Don't make this a soap opera. You're not only making it a soap opera, you're making it a bad soap opera."
The defense is expected to call several more witnesses. It’s still not clear if Sen. Menendez will take the stand.
The trial will resume on Wednesday.

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