Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was hit with a new felony charge on Thursday as a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment that included an additional count of allegedly acting as a foreign agent.
Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen involved in the alleged bribery scheme “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to have” Menendez “act as an agent” of the Egyptian government, the indictment said.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”
The original indictment against Menendez, his wife, and three businessmen, was unsealed last month and alleged that he and his wife had a corrupt relationship with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, who allegedly gave the senator bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the DOJ, the bribes were intended to protect the businessmen and to benefit Egypt.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment said. Federal authorities reportedly found gold bars and cash stuffed throughout the senator’s home that they traced back to the businessmen Menendez allegedly worked with.
“Over $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe — was discovered in the home,” the indictment said. Photos included in the indictment included pictures of gold bars and hundred dollars bills that had been stuffed in clothing.
Menendez is also accused of ghost writing a letter to other senators to urge them to support to end a hold on $300 million in military aid to Egypt, a letter that was reportedly written in coordination with his wife and the businessmen in question. Other aspects of the indictment focus in on Menendez’s involvement with IS EG Halal, a business that prosecutors say was used to funnel bribery payments and one of the businessman’s alleged payments for a Mercedes Benz used by Nadine Menendez.
Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.