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Sen. Bob Menendez faces new bribery allegations involving gifts from Qatar

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is facing new allegations before the start of his bribery trial that he accepted cash, gold and other gifts from Qatar in exchange for government assistance, according to a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday. File photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., is facing new allegations before the start of his bribery trial that he accepted cash, gold and other gifts from Qatar in exchange for government assistance, according to a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday. File photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Sen. Bob Menendez is facing new allegations before the start of his bribery trial that he accepted race car tickets and other gifts from Qatar in exchange for government assistance, according to a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday.

The 50-page indictment is the second to be filed since the New Jersey Democrat surrendered in September.

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According to the latest indictment, prosecutors allege Menendez and his wife were paid cash, gold and other gifts including luxury watches in exchange for praise and deals for Qatar.

The document alleges Menendez brokered a multi-million dollar real estate deal between Qatar and New Jersey developer Fred Daibes, who is also a defendant in the bribery scheme.

Prosecutors allege Menendez texted a Qatari investor about Daibes, saying "I understand my friend is going to visit with you on the 15th of the month. I hope that this will result in the favorable and mutually beneficial agreement that you have been both engaged in discussing."

According to the indictment, Menendez failed to disclose gifts from Qatari officials, including tickets to the 2022 Formula One Grand Prix and gold bars shortly before the Qatari Investment Company invested tens of millions of dollars with Daibes.

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Menendez, the former head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, have already been indicted on three bribery charges. The senator was also charged in October with conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent for the government of Egypt.

Menendez, who has refused calls to resign, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"The government does not have the proof to back up any of the old or new allegations," Menendez's attorney said in a statement Tuesday.

"At all times, Sen. Menendez acted entirely appropriately with respect to Qatar, Egypt, and the many other countries he routinely interacts with," Attorney Adam Fee said. "Those interactions were always based on his professional judgment as to the best interests of the United States because he is, and always has been, a patriot."

Last week, a federal judge rejected a request to delay the start of Menendez's bribery trial by two months "given the complexity of this case." The trial is currently scheduled for May 6.

"This latest indictment only exposes the lengths to which these hostile prosecutors will go to poison the public before a trial even begins," Fee said. "But these new allegations don't change a thing, and their theories won't survive the scrutiny of the court or a jury."

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