Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Year : 1, Issue : 19
Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife are seeking separate trials on bribery charges they each face in a New York court.
The New Jersey Democrat and his wife, Nadine, were each charged in the fall with aiding three New Jersey businessmen in return for cash, gold bars and a luxury car.
The couple and the businessmen, who also face charges, have all pleaded not guilty.
Nadine Menendez’s lawyers asked in papers filed late Monday for the severance on the grounds that the senator may want to testify at a trial scheduled to start in May and may divulge marital communications that she plans to keep secret.
Lawyers for Bob Menendez wrote that each spouse should face separate trials so that the senator does not provide information about marital communications during cross-examination that might be damaging to his wife’s defense.
They asked the trial judge not to force “him to choose between two fundamental rights: his right to testify in his own defense and his right not to testify against his spouse.”
Several days earlier, the senator’s lawyers had asked that charges in the case be dismissed. They added to those requests Monday, calling charges against him a “distortion of the truth.”
“Over and over again, the Indictment distorts or ignores evidence reflecting the Senator’s conduct in favor of American — and only American — interests and his decades of appropriate constituent services,” the lawyers said.
The lawyers also said the trial should not be in New York since almost everything alleged to have occurred happened in New Jersey or outside New York.
The lawyers noted that Menendez won an earlier corruption case in New Jersey with “at least 10 jurors voting to acquit the Senator on the government’s hyped-up corruption charges.”
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined to comment. Prosecutors will reply to all the pre-trial motions with arguments of their own in several weeks.