Senator Bob Menendez May Blame His Wife at Bribery Trial

Newly unsealed court documents indicate that New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez may blame his wife, Nadine Menendez, for the bribery charges the couple is facing by claiming that she hid information from him and led him to believe that “nothing unlawful was taking place.” 

A legal brief from Menendez’s lawyers said the senator might testify about communications with his wife that will demonstrate “the ways in which she withheld information” from her husband “or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place.” 

The possible defense strategy had been redacted, but was unsealed on Tuesday by a federal judge following the request of several news outlets.

The newly unsealed documents indicate that Menendez may testify at his trial in order to disclose communications that may “exonerate” him, but incriminate his wife.

The senator and his wife are accused of accepting cash, gold and a luxury Mercedes in exchange for Senator Menendez’s willingness to use his political influence to help allies in New Jersey, as well as to aid the governments of Egypt and Qatar.  Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The senator’s trial is scheduled for May, while his wife’s separate trial has been postponed until July.

Menendez’s lawyers argued that to try them together “threatens the senator’s right to a fair trial by, among other things, forcing him to choose between two fundamental rights: his right to testify in his own defense and his right not to testify against his spouse.”

Two New Jersey businessmen are also scheduled for trial as participants in the corruption scheme.

According to her lawyers, Nadine Menendez is suffering from a “serious medical condition that will require a surgical procedure.” They said the surgery would take place within weeks, and she might need “possibly significant follow-up and recovery treatment.”