Closing arguments resume for 2nd day in Sen. Menendez's corruption trial

It’s their last chance to explain why they believe the senator is innocent of charges that he took bribes from close friends and acted as a foreign agent to country of Egypt.

Chris Keating

Jul 9, 2024, 4:22 PM

Updated 5 days ago

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Defense attorneys are presenting their closing argument to jurors at the trial of Sen. Robert Menendez.
It’s their last chance to explain why they believe the senator is innocent of charges that he took bribes from close friends and acted as a foreign agent to country of Egypt.
The defense started off its closing argument by saying, “The senator’s actions are lawful, normal and good for his country.”
The senator’s lead attorney, Adam Fee, criticized the government’s case as too dependent on text messages and emails, and not relying on "human" testimony.
Fee stated, “There is no text, no recording, no photo that shows Senator Menendez taking a bribe.”
He told the jurors they’re being asked to infer that evidence such as the $480,000 in cash in the couple’s home along with gold bars found in Nadine Menendez’s bedroom closet belonged to the senator.
The defense said, “The inferences they want you to draw are shifty.”
Fee reminded jurors that, Menendez’ own 80-year-old sister explained on the stand that the hoarding of cash was a cultural habit of Cuban refugees. His sister, Caridad Gonzalez, told jurors their parents hid money and told them not to trust banks.
As for the $250,000 worth of gold Nadine Menendez sold off through a jeweler, they explained that she had fallen on "lean times." While prosecutors have told the panel Nadine Menendez was getting rid of it before it was found by investigators.
In their own closing, federal prosecutors brought up testimony from real humans, including Jose Uribe, who testified he paid for Nadine Menendez’s new Mercedes Benz to access the senator. Uribe is a cooperating witness for the prosecution.
Jurors were reminded that as a favor for Uribe, Sen. Menendez reached out to state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to ask about his friend's criminal case. Uribe's friend, Elvis Para, was being investigated by the state for insurance fraud.
Prosecutors said Sen. Menendez first got Grewal's attention by claiming he wanted to talk about the selective prosecution that Latino truckers had been facing. But the prosecution said that was a lie to see if Grewal would help.
The prosecution told jurors that throughout the entire conspiracy, Menendez was using his wife as a go-between to collect bribes from fellow defendants Wael Hana and Fred Dabies.
The prosecution took a shot at the defense for passing the buck onto his wife saying, “Blaming his wife for promises he makes for military aid, blaming his wife for what is in her bedroom closet.”
Once the defense finishes with the closing, the jury will be given their instructions tomorrow and then start deliberating.


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