The Justice Department filed an additional charge against New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, accusing him of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for Egypt, CBS News reported.
In a superseding indictment filed in US District Court in New York and unsealed last Thursday, federal prosecutors charged Menendez with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign principal while serving a public official. As a member of the US Senate, federal law prohibits Menendez from acting as a foreign agent.
Prosecutors accuse the New Jersey Democrat of promising to take and taking “a series of acts on behalf of Egypt,” including from Egyptian intelligence and military officials, and conspiring with his wife Nadine Menendez and Egyptian businessman Wael Hana to do so.
According to the indictment, Wael Hana, who runs a halal meat company in New Jersey, and Menendez’s wife Nadine “communicated requests and directives from Egyptian officials” to Senator Menendez.
Neither Nadine Menendez nor Wael Hana is registered as a foreign agent or lobbyist for Egypt, the Justice Department stated.
Menendez said in a statement on Thursday that the superseding indictment “flies in the face” of his record of “standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt.” The New Jersey Democrat claimed that throughout his life, he has only been loyal to the United States.
Menendez also maintained his innocence in the charges brought against him, arguing that adding a new charge “does not make the allegations true.” He accused the Justice Department of filing the additional charge as a way to wear him down and vowed that he would not “succumb to this tactic.”
The superseding indictment details two meetings Menendez had with Wael Hana in June 2018 and September 2019 at restaurants in Manhattan. An unnamed Egyptian official also attended the 2019 meeting.
Prosecutors accuse Nadine Menendez of having meetings and “direct communications with multiple Egyptian officials,” some of whom she knew were with Egyptian intelligence. In these meetings, Nadine would receive requests from the Egyptians which she in turn conveyed to her husband.