Criminal trial of US Senator Bob Menendez set for May 6
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s trial on corruption charges will begin in May, a federal judge in New York said on Monday.
The Democratic senator for New Jersey has pleaded not guilty and resisted calls for his resignation following his indictment last month on charges of taking bribes from three New Jersey businessmen.
U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein scheduled trial in the case for May 6, giving prosecutors time to hand over evidence to Menendez’s attorneys and allow them to make legal challenges.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have accused Menendez, 69, and his wife of accepting gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for the senator using his influence to aid Egypt’s government and interfere with law enforcement investigations of the businessmen.
The senator’s wife and businessmen Jose Uribe, 56, Fred Daibes, 66, and Wael Hana, 40, have also pleaded not guilty.
The indictment contained images of gold bars and cash investigators seized from Menendez’s home. Prosecutors say Hana arranged meetings between the senator and Egyptian officials – who pressed him to sign off on military aid – and in return put his wife on the payroll of a company he controlled.
The probe marks the third time Menendez has been under investigation by federal prosecutors. He has never been convicted.
Menendez, one of two senators representing New Jersey, stepped down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as required under his party’s rules. But he has maintained his innocence and rejected calls from several of his fellow Democratic senators to resign.
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