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Menendez trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution focuses on relationship with co-defendants

The prosecution is still laying out its case to prove the senator was taking bribes in return for official acts for two New Jersey businessmen and the country of Egypt.

Chris Keating

May 28, 2024, 4:16 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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Jurors have returned to court for more testimony in the federal bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez.
As the third week begins, the prosecution is still laying out its case to prove the senator was taking bribes in return for official acts for two New Jersey businessmen and the country of Egypt.
Both Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez are accused in this case. The prosecution is trying to prove they took cash and gold from two men - Wael Hana and Fred Daibes.
To start the day, jurors again heard from an employee of those two businessmen, accused of providing those bribes to Menendez and his wife.
Jamela Maali explained that she wrote checks to Nadine Menendez for what federal officials say was a “no-show job.”
Maali worked for both men and testified to writing checks totaling $30,000 to be sent to Nadine Menendez.
In reference to Nadine, Maali was asked by federal prosecutors, "While you worked for ISEG Halal, you never saw her work for ISEG Halal?"
Maali answered, "No.”
Maali told jurors that she also kept watch of Fred Daibes’s inventory of gold, confirming that bars taken from the Menendez home by the FBI had the same serial numbers as those listed in his inventory.
She also testified that Daibes and Sen. Menendez were friends saying, “They joke, they laugh, they hang out together. It’s a genuine relationship.”
While Maali was a prosecution witness, the defense is trying to point out that Menendez and the two co-defendants are long-time friends and that the gold and cash were merely gifts.
However, the prosecution is trying to point out that Menendez hooked up Wael Hana with a lucrative deal to be the sole certifier of Halal meant being sent from the United States to Egypt.
They’re also trying to prove that Menendez was helping Egypt with gaining arms and military aid from the U.S. since he was the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Jurors saw a text from 2018 before Nadine Menendez and the senator were married.
It was sent from a man identified as a representative of the Government of Egypt. It read, “Senator, I’m using Nadine’s phone. I’m Andy Aslanian...We can definitely help you with your election campaign…Those arrangements can be made through Nadine.”
Jurors also learned that Wael Hana had a relationship with an Egyptian major general at the embassy.
The start of court got off to a late start on Tuesday as one juror failed to show up because of an injury she suffered on Monday. After a call from the judge, the day began in full after lunch.


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