Senator Bob Menendez is facing an additional federal charge after the Justice Department filed a superseding indictment last week accusing the New Jersey Democrat of conspiring to act as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt, CBS News reported.
In the superseding indictment unsealed last Thursday, the Justice Department added a charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign principal while serving a public official. Federal law prohibits a public official from acting as an agent of a foreign government.
Federal prosecutors allege that Menedez promised to take and was taking “a series of acts on behalf of Egypt” from Egyptian officials from the military and intelligence. He is accused of conspiring with his wife Nadine Menendez and Egyptian businessman Wael Hana, who owns a New Jersey halal meat company.
According to the indictment, Wael Hana and Nadine Menendez communicated to Senator Menendez “requests and directives from Egyptian officials.” However, neither Mrs. Menendez nor Hana is registered to act as a foreign agent or lobbyist for Egypt.
The Justice Department highlights two meetings Menendez had with Wael Hana in June 2018 and September 2019 at Manhattan restaurants. At the September 2019 meeting, an unnamed Egyptian official was also in attendance, according to the indictment.
Nadine Menendez is accused of having meetings and “direct communications with multiple Egyptian officials,” some of whom Mrs. Menendez knew were from Egyptian intelligence. It was during these meetings that she would receive requests from Egypt which she then conveyed to her husband.
In response to the superseding indictment, Senator Menendez said in a statement that the charge “flies in the face” of his longstanding record of “standing up” for democracy and human rights in Egypt. He insisted that throughout his life, he has been loyal only to the United States.
Reiterating his innocence on the previous charges of fraud and accepting bribes, Menendez said that the new charge “does not make the allegations true.” He suggested that the Justice Department added the additional charge in hopes of wearing him down and said he would not “succumb to this tactic.”