Co-defendant pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate in bribery case against top Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez


Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey was dealt a severe legal blow on Friday when his former co-defendant in a bribery case pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the top Democrat.

Jose Uribe, a New Jersey businessman, admitted to seven charges in a Manhattan federal court, including honest services wire fraud, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, and conspiracy to commit bribery on Friday.

Uribe admitted in court to providing a Mercedez-Benz to Nadine Menendez, the senator’s wife, in exchange for his “using his power and influence as a United States senator to get a favorable outcome and to stop all investigations related to one of my associates.”

He faces 95 years in prison for his crimes, and he has agreed to forfeit $246,000 related to those criminal acts.

Authorities have accused Menendez and his wife of accepting bribes in the form of cash, gold bars, and the luxury car in exchange for the senator’s influence. Two other businessmen have been charged and have pleaded not guilty.

In January, Menendez was nailed with superseding charges related to his alleged acceptance of luxury watches in return for his influence to help a New Jersey developer obtain a multimillion-dollar deal with the Qatari government. The previous charges are related to accusations of bribery that benefited the government of Egypt.

Menendez has denied all charges against him.

He has also resisted calls from his own party to resign from his office, including the vociferous criticism from Democrat Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania.

“We have a colleague in the Senate that’s actually done much more sinister kinds of things. He needs to go,” said Fetterman, who was comparing him to a Republican expelled from Congress. “Menendez is really a senator for Egypt, not New Jersey.”

Menendez was previously indicted in a bribery case in 2015 where he was accused of trading political favors for luxury flights, vacations, and other benefits. A judge declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict, and prosecutors later dropped the charges.

The 70-year-old Democrat was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and has served as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The trial against the Democrat and two remaining co-defendants is scheduled for May.

Here’s more about the stunning development:


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