Staffer testifies that Sen. Menendez changed his stance on Egyptian government after meetings

Federal prosecutors are alleging Sen. Bob Menendez helped Egypt get weapons from the United States.

Chris Keating

Jun 24, 2024, 5:11 PM

Updated 25 days ago

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A staffer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took the stand Monday afternoon in the federal corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez.
Sarah Arkin at one point worked very closely with the senator in his Washington D.C. office. She testified to seeing a change in the senator’s hard stance on Egypt after one meeting in particular.”
Arkin told jurors that she sat in on several meetings with Egyptian officials, during which Arkin testified that Egypt always pushed Menendez for “military aid without conditions.” She said that on March 13, 2018, one meeting included a defense official for Egypt, Nadine Menendez - the senator’s wife - and Wael Hana.
Federal prosecutors are alleging the senator helped Egypt get weapons from the United States in return for giving Hana, the owner of ISEG Halal in Edgewater, a deal to be the sole certifier of Halal meat into Egypt.
Arkin testified that after that meeting, Menendez changed his tone on Egypt. She stated the senator was no longer as concerned with human rights violations and ensuring the Egyptian people a chance at the democratic process.
She testified Menendez wanted to be “less publicly critical” of Egypt’s president.
Earlier, in the day, jurors saw a photo of a $5 million home in Saddle River the prosecution says Bob and Nadine Menendez were looking to buy right around the time it’s alleged they were receiving cash and gold from Fred Daibes.
Jurors would see text messages between Nadine and the realtor reading, “Nice meeting you and your husband today.” To which Nadine later replied, “We might be able to make an offer on Saddle River today.”
The prosecution is trying to link the couple’s potential spending to Daibes’ alleged bribes. The feds say Menendez helped Daibes gain a $95 million real estate deal on a property in Edgewater with the Qatari Royal family – a property that was worth $200 million.
Menendez denies any allegations of bribery. His attorneys say anything Daibes gave Nadine and the senator were simply gifts between long-time friends.
The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case this week. The defense will then take over. Attorneys for Menendez are planning to call two dozen witnesses. Judge Sidney Stein asked attorneys to reduce that number.
Stein took a moment to reprimand the Defense for taking their time when it came to handing over information about their witnesses to the government.


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