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The new superseding indictment handed up in the corruption case of New Jersey U.S. Senator Robert Menendez does not contain any new charges, so why are prosecutors pursuing this? Might this development impact the Democratic primary race this spring for the U.S. Senate seat Menendez now holds?
According to former Morris County prosecutor Bob Bianchi, what’s happening here is not surprising.
Bianchi said this is likely an attempt by prosecutors to escalate things and turn up the heat on Menendez.
“We’re moving closer to trial and closer to a more draconian resolution, and therefore we’re going back in and superseding this indictment. It doesn’t spell something good for the defendant in a case like that,” he said.
Last October, Menendez was charged with bribery and corruption for allegedly helping the government of Egypt in exchange for cash, gold bars, and a luxury vehicle. According to the new indictment handed up by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Menendez allegedly also helped the government of Qatar, and he was given more gold, tickets to a Formula 1 race, and his choice of luxury wristwatches.
Menendez, his wife Nadine, and New Jersey real estate tycoon Fred Daibes have all pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“There are many times that prosecutors will file an initial indictment with basic charges and allegations of facts in the hopeful anticipation of a resolution of a matter,” Bianchi said.
He also noted that prosecutors may have also decided to file another indictment because additional facts in the case have come to light.
Requests made to representatives of Menendez for comment were not answered.