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Menendez' Trial Is Winding Down

With all the attention being given to Joe Biden's debate performance and the aftermath, the trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has been pushed off to about page 19 of most newspapers, if they cover it at all. The trial has been going on for 7 weeks. Menendez has been indicted for good, old-fashioned corruption. The government of Egypt allegedly gave him cash, gold bars, a fancy car, and more in return for his using his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help Egypt. If true, this is out-and-out bribery.

Menendez has been charged with 16 offenses, including bribery, fraud, acting as a foreign agent and obstruction. The gold bars and cash were shown to the jury, so denying he got them won't work. His defense is that all the goodies were for his wife and he didn't know anything about the gifts. The famous "blame the wife" defense. Nice guy.

Menendez' defense probably won't work because the guy who bribed him, Jose Uribe, is cooperating with law enforcement. He testified at the trial that he did arrange the bribes, although the car was indeed for Menendez' wife, who had just totaled hers, killing a pedestrian in the process.

Menendez should have known better. He was previously indicted for corruption. That trial ended in a hung jury and the prosecutors then dropped the case. That should have scared the daylights out of Menendez and cured him of his wicked ways, but it didn't. He kept at it and got indicted. Again.

Closing arguments were presented yesterday. The case will go to the jury today or tomorrow.

Mendendez' wife, Nadine, will go on trial in August for her role in the affair. Her trial was delayed because she has stage 3 breast cancer and is undergoing treatment for it.

Menendez is running for reelection as an independent. It is exceedingly unlikely that he could win, even if he is acquitted. If he is found guilty on one or more charges, it's all over for him. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) is widely expected to be elected senator in November to replace Menendez. (V)

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