Nadine Menendez Wants Her Own Trial - MilectoNadine Menendez Wants Her Own Trial - Milecto

Senator Robert Menendez and his wife are both being charged by the federal government with taking bribes, which are said to have included gold bars. The current court case has made their marriage more public, which has led to a new discussion about the case.

Attorney General Eric Holder charged Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his wife, Nadine Menendez, with corruption last autumn. The charges said they took cash and gold bribes. Both people want to be tried separately, which was made clear in papers filed by their lawyers on Monday, which brings up a new legal issue.

Ms. Menendez has directly asked a federal judge to let the senator appear in their May trial in Manhattan, even though she knows that the senator might decide not to. In her plea, she admitted that private conversations between her and her husband might be made public, which Senator Menendez thought was very important for his defence.

It is being used the usual defence against spouse evidence, which says that husbands and wives can’t be forced to speak against each other. According to the papers she gave to Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Federal District Court, Ms. Menendez is stressing how important it is to protect the privacy of her conversations with her husband.

When the senator’s lawyers put together their case a few hours later and turned it in, they took a similar stance. They said that a joint trial would put Senator Menendez in a tough spot and force him to make a choice that would be bad for everyone. According to the most current court document, the problem is choosing between speaking in his own defence and using his partner privilege to avoid being cross-examined by the other person’s lawyer.

This rare request comes after Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, spoke out strongly about the charges against him on the Senate floor just one week ago. According to the charges, Mr. Menendez, his wife, and a businessman from New Jersey named Wael Hana are all part of a plot to trade political favours for gold bars. The charges also say that Mr. Menendez worked for Egypt without being registered, took bribes to help the government of Qatar, and tried to stop criminal investigations of people he worked with in New Jersey.

“I proclaim my innocence,” Mr. Menendez said on the Senate floor, showing that he was determined to prove his innocence. The next day, on January 10, his lawyers sent in a brief asking that all of Mr. Menendez’s charges be dropped. They said that the prosecution’s zeal translated into making normal congressional actions illegal, which went against the constitutional rights that members of Congress have.

Avi Weitzman, Mr. Menendez’s lawyer, kept questioning the government’s case on Monday, calling it a “leaky, sinking ship.”

The filed court paper also says that the case, which began in September, was filed in the wrong place and should be moved to New Jersey.

“If there’s a trial for this case – and there really shouldn’t be one – it ought to be solely focused on the senator, held in New Jersey, where all the crucial events mentioned in this case unfolded,” said Mr. Weitzman in a public statement.

When it turns in its formal papers by February 5, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York will have a chance to argue against the defense’s points of view. Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, chose not to say anything on Monday.

Three people have pleaded not guilty: the Menendezes, Mr. Hana, and the police officer. Two other businessmen from New Jersey have also pleaded not guilty to charges that they offered bribes to the couple in exchange for voting for them.

Stephen Gillers, an ethics professor at New York University School of Law, said that judges and lawyers usually strongly oppose splitting cases. He said that lawyers and judges don’t like to try the same case twice, and they are always looking for ways to protect the rights of both accused in a single hearing.

Professor Gillers says that this can often be done by telling the judges to only look at certain statements about the senator and not against Ms. Menendez.

“The jury takes an oath to honour those limiting instructions,” he said.

Sen. Menendez married Ms. Menendez, his second wife, in 2020 after a short relationship. Prosecutors have said in three separate charges that she is a key figure in the bribery plot.

Their paths met years ago in New Jersey, where they both lived, as friends and past coworkers told them. However, they didn’t start dating until early 2018, not long after Senator Menendez’s previous federal corruption cases were over in New Jersey. In November 2017, there were no clear winners in the trial. After the most serious charges were dropped by a judge, federal officials decided not to try the senator again.

In Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Ms. Menendez raised her now-adult children in a split-level home. The couple came under police scrutiny when their home and safe deposit box were searched and over $550,000 in cash, 13 gold bars, and a Mercedes-Benz were found. The government says that the car, cash, and gold are gifts from Mr. Hana and the other two businesses.

Mr. Hana was an American citizen who was born in Egypt. He and Ms. Menendez had been friends for a long time and often hung out at restaurants and bars in North Jersey.

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Investigators say that after Ms. Menendez and the senator started dating, she and Mr. Hana set up talks with Egyptian officials. This happened while Mr. Menendez was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He had to step down from that position after being linked to the bribery scheme.

In 2019, Mr. Hana opened a business in New Jersey that sells kosher meat. Soon after, the Egyptian government gave his business, IS EG Halal, the exclusive right to verify that meat from the U.S. was in line with Islamic law. Before this, this job was split between several companies. By the beginning of 2020, IS EG Halal had a world monopoly and was the only organisation that could confirm that halal meat from any country that came into Egypt was properly prepared. Authorities say that many of the alleged gifts, such as mortgage payments for the Englewood Cliffs home, a job with few or no tasks, and a new Mercedes, were sent to Ms. Menendez. As a key player in the case against Mr. Menendez, Ms. Menendez also set up a consulting business that authorities say was used to launder bribe money.

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