Co-defendants in Senator Bob Menendez’s case, including his wife, plead not guilty to revised bribery charges
NEW YORK (AP) — Four defendants in criminal bribery case against U.S. senator. Bob Menendez He pleaded not guilty Wednesday in New York City to an amended indictment alleging that the senator, his wife and a third defendant conspired to use him as an agent of the Egyptian government.
The senator, who stepped down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after his arrest last month, was excused from Manhattan federal court proceedings until Monday due to Senate business.
Among the defendants who submitted their requests are his wife, Nadine Menendez, and businessman Wael Hanna.
The senator, his wife and Hannah were charged in the case Rewrite the indictment last week on a new charge of conspiring to use the senator as an agent of the Egyptian government despite being banned from serving as a member of Congress.
the Previous indictment Menendez and his wife were accused of participating in a bribery conspiracy by accepting bribes of cash, gold bullion, and a luxury car from three New Jersey businessmen who wanted the senator’s assistance and influence in foreign affairs.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Sidney H. Stein asks Hannah to remove the GPS monitoring device attached to his leg on the grounds that it is painful and because there is no chance of escape.
Stein ruled after Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Richenthal opposed the request, saying Hanaa, an American and Egyptian citizen, was a flight risk because he was “deeply connected” to the Egyptian government and had more than $25 million in assets abroad.
Hanna’s attorney, Lawrence Lustberg, said the electronic ankle bracelet his client was told to wear was uncomfortable and “buzzes all night when he’s trying to sleep.”
“It’s a stressful situation that we feel, respectively, is simply not necessary,” Lustberg said.
He said Hanna was looking forward to clearing her name in the trial scheduled for May 6 and had no interest in leaving the United States.
“He’s absolutely determined to stay here,” Lustberg said.
Richenthal said prosecutors agreed to pay Hanna $5 million bail, even though the charges against him are not extraditable crimes in Egypt, because he agreed to wear a GPS device and because he was willing to pay significant property and money to support bail.
The new charge against the trio alleges that they conspired to take a series of steps on behalf of Egypt, including Egyptian military and intelligence officials, from January 2018 to June 2022.
In a statement last week, Menendez said he would “prove my innocence” at trial. His wife said through her lawyer that she denies all the allegations in the indictment, while Lustberg said the allegation that Hanaa joined a plot to recruit Menendez as an Egyptian government agent is “as absurd as it is false.”
Prosecutors say Menendez was acting on behalf of Hanna when he urged U.S. agriculture officials to stop questioning the lucrative monopoly Hanna obtained from the Egyptian government on proving that all meat imported into that country met religious requirements.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com