Senator Bob Menendez and his wife have requested separate trials for the bribery charges they are both facing in a New York court. In the fall, Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, and his wife, Nadine, faced charges of assisting three businessmen from New Jersey in exchange for money, gold bars, and a luxury car.
The couple, along with the businessmen who are also facing charges, have all entered pleas of not guilty.
Nadine Menendez’s legal team has recently filed a request for severance. The basis for this request is the possibility that the senator may need to testify at an upcoming trial set to commence in May. Furthermore, there is a concern that during her testimony, confidential marital communications that she intends to keep private might be revealed.
Bob Menendez’s lawyers argued that it would be best for each spouse to have separate trials. This would ensure that the senator does not inadvertently reveal any information about their marital communications during cross-examination, which could potentially harm his wife’s defense.
The defense requested the trial judge to respect the defendant’s fundamental rights by not compelling him to make a difficult choice. They emphasized that forcing him to testify would infringe upon his right to remain silent and would also violate the principle of not testifying against his spouse.
The defense lawyers in the case made several pre-trial submissions late Monday, including requests for separate trials. The senator’s lawyers had previously requested the dismissal of charges in the case. On Monday, they further emphasized their position by describing the charges against him as a “distortion of the truth.”
According to the supporters, Senator Menendez is not only “not guilty,” but he is actually innocent of the charges. They firmly believe that he has never compromised his position or abused his power for personal financial benefits.
Ever since the senator faced charges in September, he had to step down from his influential role as the leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Additionally, the prosecutors have accused him of bribery, alleging that he collaborated with his wife and a businessman to clandestinely promote Egypt’s interests. Furthermore, they claim that he also showed favoritism towards the government of Qatar in order to assist a businessman.
The lawyers argued that the Indictment repeatedly distorts or disregards evidence that shows the Senator’s actions in support of American interests and his long history of providing appropriate constituent services.
The lawyers assert that the government is well aware of the situation and has deliberately concealed evidence that would prove Senator Menendez’s innocence. This evidence directly undermines the allegations outlined in the Indictment. However, due to legal restrictions, the defense cannot make this evidence public and is required to file a redacted version under seal. Meanwhile, the government has been actively promoting a false narrative through the media.
The lawyers argued against holding the trial in New York, citing that the majority of the alleged incidents took place in New Jersey or outside of New York. They stated that this case should be in New Jersey.
During a previous corruption case in New Jersey, Menendez’s lawyers highlighted that the Senator emerged victorious with “at least 10 jurors voting to acquit him on the government’s exaggerated corruption charges.”
The spokesperson for prosecutors declined to provide any comments regarding the matter. However, they assured that the prosecutors will respond to all the pre-trial motions with their own arguments within the next few weeks.