Businessman pleads not guilty to charges of bribing US Senator Menendez

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez to make first remarks following indictment

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) delivers remarks, after he and his wife Nadine Menendez were indicted on bribery offenses in connection with their corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen, in Union City, New Jersey, U.S., September 25, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar Acquire Licensing Rights

NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters) – A New Jersey businessman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of bribing U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.

Wael Hana, 40, entered the plea at a hearing before Magistrate Judge Ona Wang in federal court in Manhattan.

Menendez, 69, his 56-year-old wife, Nadine Menendez, and two other businessmen accused of bribing the senior New Jersey senator are scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Hana, who is originally from Egypt, arranged meetings in 2018 between Menendez and Egyptian officials. At the meetings, officials pressed the senator – who until shortly after his indictment was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – to sign off on military aid Washington had withheld over concerns about the country’s human rights record.

In exchange, prosecutors said, Hana put Nadine Menendez on the payroll of a company he controlled that had the exclusive right to certify halal meat shipped to Egypt from the United States.

Menendez and his wife have denied wrongdoing. The senator has rejected calls from fellow Democrats to step down.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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