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Prosecution focuses on Egyptian halal beef deal in Menendez’s bribery trial

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Sen. Bob Menendez helped his friend, Wael Hana, score a deal with the Egyptian government.

Chris Keating

May 20, 2024, 4:23 PM

Updated 31 days ago

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Sen. Bob Menendez was back in Manhattan Federal Court on Monday for the second week of his federal corruption trial. Federal prosecutors have been laying out their case as they try to prove the Democratic senator took bribes in the form of cash and gold in return for favors for three businessmen.
Menendez and jurors were again listening to the testimony of U.S. diplomat James Bret Tate. He testified that in 2019, he alerted the U.S. State Department that Wael Hana, a friend of Bob and Nadine Menendez, and the owner of a company called ISEG Halal was chosen as the only company to be allowed to certify meat imported from the United States to Egypt.
Tate was worried that prices would skyrocket if that monopoly was allowed and testified that prices for certification eventually rose from $400 to $5,000.
Tate says that when he told his boss about his concerns, he stated, “We were asked from Washington to not make any more noise on this issue. Let the dust settle.” Tate also stated that he would later learn that "ISEG had gained certification approval for Brazil and Uruguay.”
Before the diplomat took the stand, Judge Sidney Stein ruled that Tate would not be allowed to testify about his claims that he was being followed and that people had been in his home in Cairo while he was raising questions about ISEG.
Before ISEG Halal took over, as many as seven companies were performing certification for meat heading to Egypt.
Federal prosecutors are trying to prove that Egypt gave Hana that contract because Menendez was allegedly helping the country of Egypt with an arms deal. The allegation is that Hana provided bribes to Menendez.
Toward the end of the day, jurors started hearing from a former friend and attorney who worked with Wael Hana as he was starting up his company in Edgewater, New Jersey.
Menendez is charged with bribery and obstruction of justice. Menendez's attorneys say he is innocent of all charges.
Jurors were told to be back in court at 10 a.m. Tuesday.


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