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Sen. Bob Menendez and wife face new obstruction charges in bribery case

Sen. Bob Menendez and wife face new obstruction charges in bribery case

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and his wife faced new obstruction allegations and charges Tuesday in a superseding indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The superseding indictment charges the senator and Nadine Menendez with new counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice related to their alleged attempts to cover up the bribe payments the senator is accused of taking from several New Jersey businessmen.

The pair allegedly instructed their attorneys at the time to tell federal investigators they thought a mortgage payment on Nadine Menendez’s house and a payment for her Mercedes-Benz were loans when, in fact, prosecutors said they knew the payments were bribes.

The new accusations appear to result from last week's guilty plea of co-defendant Jose Uribe, who admitted to providing Nadine Menendez with a Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for the senator's help.

PHOTO: Sen. Robert Menendez arrives at federal court in New York, Oct. 23, 2023.  (Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Sen. Robert Menendez arrives at federal court in New York, Oct. 23, 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When Menendez and his wife learned of the federal investigation in 2022, prosecutors said they sought to cover up the bribe payments.

MORE: Sen. Bob Menendez declares innocence on Senate floor

"In truth and in fact, as Menendez well knew, Menendez had learned of both the mortgage company payment and the car payments prior to 2022, and that they were not loans but bribe payments," the superseding indictment said.

Prosecutors have alleged the senator took gifts -- gold bars, wads of cash and luxury watches, among others -- in exchange for doing official favors for Uribe and the governments of Egypt and Qatar. He is the first sitting member of Congress to ever be charged with conspiracy by a public official to act as a foreign agent.

The senator, his wife and other defendants have pleaded not guilty to those charges. The trial was scheduled for May.

In a statement Tuesday, Menendez denied all wrongdoing and called the prosecution "overzealous."

"Today’s superseding indictment is a flagrant abuse of power," the statement said. "The government has long known that I learned of and helped repay loans -- not bribes -- that had been provided to my wife."

He added, "Not content -- or capable -- of meeting those facts fairly at trial, the government has now falsely alleged a cover up and obstruction. The latest charge reveals far more about the government than it says about me. It says that the prosecutors are afraid of the facts, scared to subject their charges to the fair-minded scrutiny of a jury, and unconstrained by any sense of justice or fair play. It says, once and for all, that they will stop at nothing in their zeal to get me."

Sen. Bob Menendez and wife face new obstruction charges in bribery case originally appeared on abcnews.go.com