Lawyer Testifies Nadine Menendez Had Help Avoiding Foreclosure Suit

Senator is accused of assisting businessman's deal with Egypt at the same time
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2024 6:40 PM CDT
Lawyer Testifies Nadine Menendez Had Help Avoiding Foreclosure Suit
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, leaves federal court Thursday in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

A New Jersey businessman rescued the home of Sen. Bob Menendez's wife from foreclosure at the same time the Democrat is accused of helping him secure a lucrative business relationship with Egypt, a lawyer testified at the politician's bribery trial Monday. Attorney John Moldovan told a Manhattan federal court jury that he was working for the businessman, Wael Hana, in July 2019 when he was asked to pay over $20,000 toward the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home's mortgage. Moldovan said Hana provided the money that he delivered to a bank to negate the need for a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit, the AP reports.

Menendez, 70, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, moved into the home after the couple married a year later. Hana and Menendez's wife, Nadine, have pleaded not guilty in the case as well, though Nadine Menendez's trial was postponed after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2022, an FBI raid turned up 13 gold bars and over $480,000 in cash in the home, and a federal agent who led the raid testified extensively about it last week, saying tens of thousands of dollars were found stuffed in four jackets where the senator kept his coats. Other cash was found in bags and in a closet safe. Prosecutors say the stash was bribery proceeds.

Moldovan testified that Hana asked him to establish a legal record that the money to pay off debt on the mortgage was a loan rather than a gift, per the AP. In all, Nadine Menendez owed nearly $271,000 on a $320,750 mortgage, Moldovan said. Prosecutors say the mortgage payment was made just as Hana was securing a monopoly with Egypt to ensure that any meat exported there from the US was certified by Hana's company, to prove it was processed in a manner that conformed with Islamic dietary requirements. Prosecutors say while he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez took favorable actions toward Egypt to aid Hana, a longtime friend of Nadine Menendez's.

(More Bob Menendez stories.)

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