Menendez seeks to suppress evidence in corruption trial, questioning search warrants
Although he claimed that the gold bars and cash found in his home had plausible explanations that would be revealed in the trial, Senator Hans Hazard. Bob Menendez Now he’s trying to make sure he never has to explain it to her at all.
A motion filed earlier this week calls for that evidence to be suppressed because it was found using search warrants that violate Menendez’s Fourth Amendment rights. The arrest warrants were described as incredibly aggressive and retaliatory for Menendez beating previous corruption charges in 2017.
“The government’s apparent eagerness to retaliate against Senator Menendez for mistrials overshadowed its sound judgment,” the filing said.
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Menendez claims that many of the government search warrants were “riddled with material misrepresentations and omissions that deceived the magistrate judge” and now require an evidentiary hearing. The other search warrants were “broad and non-specific,” the filing argues.
The 39-page memo filed on January 22 to suppress the search warrants said the search warrants were so broad that they allowed the government to “dig” into the senator’s personal life dating back years before the conduct in question, and should now require judicial intervention. .
“The government has spared no effort in this investigation that has continued for years into Senator Menendez,” the report stated.
5,000 pages of search warrants and affidavits
The investigation included recorded conversations from confidential sources in Arabic that were translated from 2019, interviews with confidential sources in 2020 through 2022, and search warrants that began in January 2022.
more: This cast of characters has been linked to Senator Menendez’s investigation
more: Experts say Senator Menendez’s alleged actions toward Egypt pose a potential threat to national security
The search warrants and supporting affidavits totaled about 5,000 pages, an “unprecedented commitment of resources,” according to Menendez’s attorneys.
“However, none of the ‘evidence’ obtained from these search warrants for the alleged co-conspirators remotely linked Senator Menendez to knowledge of involvement in any alleged bribery scheme,” the memo said.
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The files allege that the government “actively distorted evidence and withheld key exculpatory information, misleading well-meaning investigating judges into issuing arrest warrants that should never have been issued.”
The Jan. 22, 2022, search warrant to search Menendez’s email and iCloud accounts to link him to the bribery scheme was based on a “brief description” of a recorded audio conversation between a confidential source and the Associate-1 team. healing.
After reviewing a transcript of the conversation, Menendez’s lawyers said it was “false” and “quite the opposite, and far from incriminating, of Senator Menendez on the recording.”
“With nothing linking Senator Menendez to knowingly receiving a bribe, there was simply no basis for the magistrate judge to allow the intentional search,” they say.
The arrest warrants were also not limited to misrepresentations and omissions, but two of them were broad and “unconstitutional blanket orders,” according to Menendez’s attorney.
They say there are no restrictions on an “exploratory search” through Menendez’s phone records, emails, text messages and “personal digital property.”
“To be absolutely clear, Senator Menendez does not believe that anything uncovered in these illegal searches remotely approaches involvement in the bribery schemes he is charged with,” the motion reads.
“Senator Menendez’s house was looted.”
According to the filing, FBI agents “ransacked Senator Menendez’s home” when executing an arrest warrant on June 16, 2022.
“Agents broke down doors (even in some cases, where the doors were unlocked), tore apart cabinets, dressers, closets, and other storage areas in the home, flipped through documents, and searched file folders,” the report states.
During this search, the FBI seized cash and gold bullion that the government was “making the center of its case.”
Months-long effort to discredit prosecutors
It is the latest in a filing during a month of efforts by the senator and his legal team to discredit prosecutors’ efforts.
Earlier this month, Menendez spoke from the Senate floor, saying the timing of the indictment, which was originally filed in September, then updated in October and again in early January, is part of the government’s plan to maintain a “sensational story.” ” the press.
“He poisons the jury and seeks to convict me in the court of public opinion,” which he said harms not only himself, but his Senate colleagues, the political establishment and the people of New Jersey.
Menendez said the prosecutor’s office was engaged “not in a prosecution but in a persecution” and that it wanted “victory, not justice.”
The state’s top senator addressed the allegations directly by saying he had not received anything from the Qatar government or on behalf of the Qatar government to “promote their image or issues.”
What’s in the indictment?
The latest version of the indictment alleges that Menendez received payments including cash and gold bullion from Edgewater developer Fred Daibes in exchange for helping Daibes get a Qatari investment firm with ties to that country’s government to invest in a property in Daibes by doing things he was briefed on. Favorable to the government of Qatar.
In June 2021, Menendez allegedly introduced Deaibs to a member of the Qatari royal family and an investment company manager, who then negotiated a multi-million dollar investment in a real estate property owned by Daibes in New Jersey.
The indictment says Menendez was making statements supporting the Qatari government to Daibes before they were released publicly so he could share them with the Qatari investor and a Qatari government official associated with the investment company.
Menendez and Egypt
Menendez was first indicted in the case last fall, and faces corruption charges, brought by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Daibes and two other businessmen in exchange for helping them enrich themselves. And trying to get them out of legal trouble.
He and the four other defendants – his wife Nadine Arslanian Menendez, businessman Daibes, Wael Hanna, and Jose Uribe – have pleaded not guilty.
The indictment alleges that between 2018 and 2022, Menendez and his wife “engaged in a corrupt relationship with Hanna, Uribe and Daibes” amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for Menendez using “his power and influence to protect and enrich these businessmen and to benefit the Egyptian government” even while he was serving Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The bribes allegedly included cash, gold bullion, mortgage payments, compensation for a reduced job or no-show, and a Mercedes-Benz — many of which are detailed in photographs in the 50-page indictment.
The senator said the allegations that he served as a foreign agent for Egypt are “an unprecedented accusation that has never been made against a sitting member of Congress.”
He added: “It opens a dangerous door for the Department of Justice to divert members of Congress’ normal dealings with a foreign government and transfer those engagements to a foreign agent.”
Menendez is up for re-election this fall, and to secure his place on the ballot, he will need to win the June 4 primary, likely in time for closing arguments in the case if the trial date holds.
Rep. Andy Kim and New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy announced they will run in the Democratic primary against Menendez for the seat.
In December, Menendez’s lawyers asked to postpone his trial for two months — from May 6 until July, after the primary in which his Senate seat will be on the ballot — because of the amount of discovery provided by the government, but the request was denied.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Menendez seeks to suppress evidence in corruption trial