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Updated indictment adds details to bribery conspiracy charges against Sen. Menendez

NEW YORK — U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez introduced a member of the Qatari royal family and principal in a company with ties to the government of Qatar to a New Jersey businessman before the company invested millions of dollars in the businessman's real estate project, a rewritten indictment alleged Tuesday.

The latest version of the indictment against the Democrat in Manhattan federal court did not identify the member of the Qatari royal family, but it said the individual was a principal of the Qatari Investment Co.

The indictment said the Qatari investor then considered and negotiated a multimillion-dollar investment in the real estate project planned by Fred Daibes, one of three businessmen charged in the indictment along with the senator and his wife. All of them have pleaded not guilty.

Messages left with lawyers and a spokesperson for Menendez were not immediately returned.

Tim Donohue, a lawyer for Daibes, said he had no immediate comment.

No new charges were added to the latest version of an indictment that already charged Menendez in a bribery conspiracy that allegedly enriched the senator and his wife with cash, gold bars and a luxury car. The allegations involving Qatar occurred from 2021 through 2023, the indictment said.

After his September arrest, the senator gave up his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has resisted calls for him to resign from his Senate seat.

According to the indictment, Menendez accepted cash and gold bars in exchange for seeking to induce the Qatari Investment Co. to invest with Daibes, including by taking actions favorable to the government of Qatar.

The indictment said that while the Qatari Investment Co. was considering its investment in the real estate development owned by Daibes, Menendez made multiple public statements supporting the government of Qatar and then provided them to Daibes so he could share them with the Qatari investor and a Qatari government official.

In an earlier version of the indictment, Menendez, his wife and one of the businessmen were charged with conspiring to illegally use the senator as an agent of the Egyptian government.

Judge Sidney H. Stein, who is presiding over the case, refused last week to extend a May 5 trial date after defense lawyers requested more time to prepare for a trial that they said already includes over 6.7 million documents.

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The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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