Defense continues Sen. Menendez 'never accepted bribes’ mantra as closing arguments conclude for 3rd day

The defense mantra throughout this closing argument has been that Sen. Menendez never accepted any bribes. Rather it was his wife Nadine.

Chris Keating

Jul 10, 2024, 4:50 PM

Updated 5 days ago


Defense attorneys trying to clear Sen. Bob Menendez of taking bribes finished their closing arguments at his trial in New York City on Wednesday.
The lead attorney for Sen. Menendez told jurors the government has a "painfully thin case."
They told the panel numerous times that the case is based on inference, adding the government has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Attorney Adam Fee continually tried to separate the senator from wife Nadine Menendez.
Fee says it was his wife who was taking cash, gold, mortgage payments and a car from the defendants in this case.
“You must acquit because you can’t prove Bob took anything," he said.
The government’s star witness, Jose Uribe said he paid for Nadine’s Mercedes so the senator would use his influence to have the state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal “kill” an insurance fraud investigation into his friend Elvis Para.
Regarding a private meeting between Uribe and Menendez one night, the defense said that Uribe “Does not say anything criminal was discussed with Senator Menendez.”
This goes to the prosecution’s argument that Menendez used his wife to collect bribes from Will Hana so he could become the sole certifier of Halal meat into Egypt.
Regarding Menendez helping Fred Daibes with a bank fraud charge, the prosecution says Menendez was never in the dark.
They stated in closing, Menendez was in charge, saying of Menendez, “He’s not a puppet having his strings pulled by someone summoned with a bell.”
It was a reference to the meeting Uribe had with Menedez in the couple's backyard. Uribe testified that Menendez rang a bell to get Nadine's attention so she could deliver them some paper.
Uribe said that on that paper he wrote the name of Elvis Para who he wanted the senator to help.
Finally, the attorney for Wael Hana stated in closing that Hana doesn’t deny paying $23,000 for Nadine’s mortgage and offered her a job with a $120,000 salary plus plenty of dinners.
Hana's attorney, Lawrence Lustberg, saying the mortgage money was a loan, adding, “There is no evidence that Mr. Hana provided any cash to Nadine.”
Lustberg said that Hana earned his deal with Egypt because he had connections with the Egyptian government and as a Coptic Christian he was favored.
The jury still needs to hear closing arguments from attorneys for defendant Fred Daibes.
Once that’s done the judge will instruct them on deliberations.

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