Key witness who says he bribed Bob Menendez continues testifying

Key prosecution witness testifies he bribed Sen. Bob Menendez, wife Nadine

Key prosecution witness testifies he bribed Sen. Bob Menendez, wife Nadine 00:38

Washington — A star witness who testified about bribing New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez will be back on the stand Monday. 

Jose Uribe, a New Jersey insurance broker, told jurors last week that he bought the Democratic senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, a new Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for the senator’s “power and influence” to stop criminal investigations into his business associates. 

Uribe pleaded guilty in March and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the case against Menendez, who has pleaded not guilty and has denied accepting any bribes. 

In 2018, Uribe was desperate to help a business associate who was charged with insurance fraud and an employee who was under investigation. 

“I was f****d,” Uribe said Friday. 

Uribe testified that his friend, Wael Hana, who is on trial with Menendez, told him he had “a way to make these things go away” for $200,000 to $250,000, and mentioned the Menendezes. 

“What did he say about them?” prosecutor Lara Pomerantz asked. 

“He could go to Nadine,” Uribe said. “Nadine will work with — go to Senator Menendez.” 

Prosecutors allege Menendez called New Jersey state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to try to disrupt the insurance fraud case in January 2019. The alleged interference didn’t work, however, and Uribe’s business associate eventually pleaded guilty. But the investigation into Uribe’s employee, whom he considers to be a daughter, continued. 

Uribe said he repeatedly messaged Hana for reassurance that the issue would be resolved favorably by the senator, but he was losing hope that Hana was following through on his part. So, he approached Nadine Menendez himself in March 2019 with an offer: “I will provide the car as long as she helps me,” he said. 

Nadine Menendez was in need of a car after a December 2018 crash and had complained to Hana about her lack of a vehicle. 

Uribe and Nadine Menendez agreed that he would buy her a car and the senator, whom she would marry the next year, would try to make the investigation go away, he told jurors. 

Menendez is being tried alongside Hana, the owner of a halal certification company, and Fred Daibes, a real estate developer. Hana and Daibes, who are accused of trying to bribe the senator, have also pleaded not guilty. 

The judge postponed Nadine Menendez’s trial until later this summer because she is being treated for breast cancer. She has also pleaded not guilty.  

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