Testimony Reveals New Bribes Taken by Menendez

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Senator Bob Menendez
Photo Credit: via Senator Bob Menendez

A New Jersey entrepreneur testified that he had bribed Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) by gifting a shiny new Mercedes to the senator’s wife.

Jose Uribe, who took a plea deal in March and is now aiding prosecutors, was questioned about the recipient of his bribes on Friday.

Uribe testified that he had bribed Menendez, who he had gained access to by colluding with another businessman, Wael Hana.

He also implicated the senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, as the recipient of the pay off he made to “stop and kill” an investigation by the New Jersey state attorney general’s office into his insurance company and his associates.

Both the senator, his spouse, and Hana have entered not guilty pleas, as has Fred Daibes, another businessman implicated in the case.

Menendez and his wife face allegations of taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes, including gold bars, in return for the senator using his influence for their benefit.

The state attorney general’s office had charged the leader of one of the trucking firms Uribe collaborated with for insurance fraud in 2018.

Uribe testified that he had scrambled to find a solution to his stop the investigation and found his solution when Hana, who shared an office with Uribe’s lawyer, mentioned that Bob and Nadine Menendez could offer a helping hand.

After overhearing Uribe’s legal issues, Hana pulled him aside and suggested that for a payment between $200,000 and $250,000, he could “make these things go away,” Uribe recounted.

Uribe mentioned that he and Hana, along with two truckers whose companies were under investigation, convened at a bar in a Marriott lobby in Teaneck, New Jersey, to hammer out the arrangement.

“The deal is to kill and stop all investigation,” Uribe confirmed in an April 2018 text to Hana, who had allegedly already bribed Menendez himself.

During his testimony, Uribe stated he threw a fundraiser for Menendez, raising $50,000 to gain “better standing” in order to secure the deal with the senator.

The ploy apparently worked and according to prosecutors, Menendez called then-New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to talk about Uribe’s case.

Grewal testified on Thursday that Menendez had asked his cousin, who he was assoicated with, for Grewal’s personal phone number.

Grewal recalled that when Menendez called, he expressed aprehension about how the state Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Grewal’s direct report, was handling the cases of Hispanic defendants versus non-Hispanic defendants, especially in the trucking sector.

“He didn’t like how this matter was being handled by our office and wanted it handled differently,” Grewal stated.

Grewal advised him that the defense attorney for the case was reputable and suggested raising concerns through proper channels.

Menendez’s staff later arranged an in-person meeting at the senator’s district office in Newark. Once again, Menendez brought up the same case, but Grewal refused to discuss it.

While on the stand, the now head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told the jury that Menendez’s efforts to discuss a particular ongoing criminal case were “pretty unprecedented in my experience.”

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