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Senator Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial is underway. Here’s what you need to know about the case involving gold bars, a jacket with cash and a Mercedes.

While former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush-money trial continues in Manhattan Criminal Court, just a few blocks away a criminal trial involving another elected U.S. official is taking place in Manhattan federal court.

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, is accused of bribery and corruption for allegedly using his influence over the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee to help the governments of Egypt and Qatar and granting political favors to three New Jersey businessmen who run a halal. meat company, which in turn showered him and his wife with gifts.

Federal prosecutors say the gifts included gold bars, cash and a Mercedes-Benz. Opening arguments in the trial began Wednesday and testimony is expected to begin later this week.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty.

Menendez speaks during a Senate finance hearing on Capitol Hill.

Menendez during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in March. (Mariam Zuhaib/AP)

Menendez, 70, is a three-term senator living in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. He chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2013 to 2015 and from 2021 to 2023, when he was indicted on federal bribery and corruption charges.

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Wael Hana arrives at Manhattan federal court for his bribery trial.Wael Hana arrives at Manhattan federal court for his bribery trial.

Wael Hana, one of Menendez’s co-defendants, arrives in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Menendez was indicted on more than a dozen criminal charges, including bribery, obstruction of justice and acting as a foreign agent. He is on trial along with two of the businessmen – Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, who have ties to Egypt and Qatar. The third, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and has cooperated with federal prosecutors. Menendez’s wife, Nadine, was also charged but will stand trial separately. If convicted on all counts, Menendez faces a maximum prison sentence of 222 years.

Menendez and his wife Nadine arrive at the federal courthouse in New York.Menendez and his wife Nadine arrive at the federal courthouse in New York.

Menendez and his wife Nadine arrive in Manhattan federal court in September. (Jeenah Moon/AP)

According to the federal indictment, Menendez and his wife were the recipients of numerous lavish gifts, including:

  • Gold bars
    Prosecutors say Hana and Daibes gave Menendez and his wife gold bars, which were seized from their home by the FBI. After returning from a trip to Egypt, prosecutors say, Menendez searched online for the price of a gold bar.

  • Envelopes full of cash
    Menendez and his wife received more than $480,000 in cash, which was found in their home packed in bags, boots and clothing, including the senator’s embroidered congressional jacket.

  • A Mercedes-Benz convertible
    The 2019 Mercedes, valued at $60,000, was purchased by Uribe for Nadine Menendez, according to prosecutors. It was parked in the couple’s driveway when FBI agents raided their home.

  • An engagement ring
    In the indictment, prosecutors say Hana received $150,000 from an unknown man to buy the car and an engagement ring for Nadine Menendez in exchange for the senator giving her a “nudge” in a New Jersey criminal case.

  • Carpeting and furniture in the basement
    Prosecutors say Nadine Menendez arranged for carpeting to be installed in her basement in exchange for dinners she hosted between the senator and officials and for unspecified furnishings.

  • Formula 1 tickets
    According to prosecutors, Menendez received tickets from Qatari officials for the Miami Grand Prix Formula One race. Menendez gave the cards to family members.

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Menendez walks down a hallway in the courthouse.Menendez walks down a hallway in the courthouse.

Menendez in Manhattan federal court on March 11. (Jeenah Moon/AP)

The trial is expected to last until early July. Menendez, whose current term expires in January, has until June to decide whether to seek re-election.

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