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Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial begins, his second in the last decade

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Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial begins, his second in the last decade
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News

Sen. Bob Menendez's corruption trial begins, his second in the last decade

2024-05-14 06:25 Last Updated At:06:31

NEW YORK (AP) — Sen Bob Menendez, a Democrat, went on trial in Manhattan federal court Monday, accused of accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to deliver favors that would help three New Jersey businessmen.

Menendez, 70, sat with his lawyers and listened as Judge Sidney H. Stein told two separate groups of 50 prospective jurors about the charges against Menendez and two of the businessmen.

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Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

NEW YORK (AP) — Sen Bob Menendez, a Democrat, went on trial in Manhattan federal court Monday, accused of accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to deliver favors that would help three New Jersey businessmen.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

FILE - Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Uribe was accused of buying a Mercedes-Benz for Nadine Menendez after her previous car was destroyed when she struck and killed a man crossing the street. Prosecutors said Menendez twice tried to help Uribe by trying to influence criminal investigations involving his business associates. Uribe pleaded guilty and is expected to testify. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Uribe was accused of buying a Mercedes-Benz for Nadine Menendez after her previous car was destroyed when she struck and killed a man crossing the street. Prosecutors said Menendez twice tried to help Uribe by trying to influence criminal investigations involving his business associates. Uribe pleaded guilty and is expected to testify. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Fred Daibes, one of three businessmen named as co-defendants with Sen. Bob Menendez, arrives at federal court, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Menendez faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Daibes is accused of delivering gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator to use his clout to help him secure a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, including by taking actions favorable to Qatar's government. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Fred Daibes, one of three businessmen named as co-defendants with Sen. Bob Menendez, arrives at federal court, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Menendez faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Daibes is accused of delivering gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator to use his clout to help him secure a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, including by taking actions favorable to Qatar's government. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Wael Hana, right, leaves the federal courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Hana is accused of paying off Menendez for helping him get a lucrative deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Wael Hana, right, leaves the federal courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Hana is accused of paying off Menendez for helping him get a lucrative deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

FILE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, left, and his wife Nadine Menendez arrive at the federal courthouse in New York, Sept. 27, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Menendez is finding his career and life on the line in a federal criminal case. The New Jersey Democrat goes to trial on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Manhattan federal court. Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes from three wealthy businessmen in his home state and performing a variety of favors in return. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, left, and his wife Nadine Menendez arrive at the federal courthouse in New York, Sept. 27, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Menendez is finding his career and life on the line in a federal criminal case. The New Jersey Democrat goes to trial on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Manhattan federal court. Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes from three wealthy businessmen in his home state and performing a variety of favors in return. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at Manhattan federal court, Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at Manhattan federal court, Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., talks at the Senate Finance hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, March 21, 2024. in Washington. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., talks at the Senate Finance hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, March 21, 2024. in Washington. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

The judge told them the “sitting U.S. senator from the state of New Jersey” had been charged in a conspiracy in which he allegedly “agreed to accept bribes and accepted bribes.”

After he warned them that the trial was expected to last up to seven weeks, Stein let jurors raise their hands if they believed they could not serve for that length of time. Then, he took them one at a time into a separate room to ask them why.

Menendez is on trial with two of the businessmen who allegedly paid him bribes — real estate developer Fred Daibes and Wael Hana. All three have pleaded not guilty. A third businessman has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other defendants. The senator’s wife is also charged, but her trial is delayed until at least July.

Stein had not finished questioning prospective jurors who said they could not serve when he finished for the day without yet beginning the process of asking general questions of all jurors, such as whether they know any of the parties to the case, including lawyers, the defendants and possible witnesses.

The judge gave no indication whether he thought it was likely that openings would occur Tuesday.

When Menendez left the courthouse at the end of the day, he gave a friendly wave toward reporters who asked him to speak as he walked quickly to a waiting car, but he left any meaningful comment for another day.

In the morning, Menendez, in a suit with a red tie, was dropped off in front of the courthouse at 8:15 a.m., forty minutes before former President Donald Trump's motorcade passed by on its way across the street to state court, where he is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records to hide hush money payments to a porn actor before the 2016 election.

Menendez did not speak to reporters who were kept behind barricades as he entered a security pavilion where everyone entering the courthouse is scanned.

The trial, the second in seven years for Menendez, has already sent the senator's political stature tumbling. After charges were announced in September, he was forced out of his powerful post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The three-term senator has announced he will not be seeking reelection on the Democratic ticket this fall, although he has not ruled out running as an independent.

The previous corruption prosecution of Menendez on unrelated charges ended with a deadlocked jury in 2017.

In the new case, prosecutors say the senator's efforts on behalf of the businessmen led him to take actions benefitting the governments of Egypt and Qatar. Menendez has vigorously denied doing anything unusual in his dealings with foreign officials.

Besides charges including bribery, extortion, fraud and obstruction of justice, Menendez also is charged with acting as a foreign agent of Egypt.

Among evidence his lawyers will have to explain are gold bars worth over $100,000 and more than $486,000 in cash found in a raid two years ago on his New Jersey home, including money stuffed in the pockets of clothing in closets.

The Democrat's wife, Nadine Menendez, was also charged in the case, but her trial has been postponed for health reasons. She is still expected to be a major figure. Prosecutors say Nadine Menendez often served as a conduit between the men paying the bribes and Menendez.

The senator's lawyers in court papers have said they plan to explain that Menendez had no knowledge of some of what occurred because she kept him in the dark.

According to an indictment, Daibes delivered gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator's help with a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, prompting Menendez to act in ways favorable to Qatar's government.

The indictment also said Menendez did things benefitting Egyptian officials in exchange for bribes from Hana as the businessman secured a valuable deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements.

In pleading guilty several weeks ago, businessman Jose Uribe admitted buying Menendez's wife a Mercedes-Benz to get the senator's help to influence criminal investigations involving his business associates.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

FILE - Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Uribe was accused of buying a Mercedes-Benz for Nadine Menendez after her previous car was destroyed when she struck and killed a man crossing the street. Prosecutors said Menendez twice tried to help Uribe by trying to influence criminal investigations involving his business associates. Uribe pleaded guilty and is expected to testify. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Jose Uribe leaves federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Uribe was accused of buying a Mercedes-Benz for Nadine Menendez after her previous car was destroyed when she struck and killed a man crossing the street. Prosecutors said Menendez twice tried to help Uribe by trying to influence criminal investigations involving his business associates. Uribe pleaded guilty and is expected to testify. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Fred Daibes, one of three businessmen named as co-defendants with Sen. Bob Menendez, arrives at federal court, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Menendez faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Daibes is accused of delivering gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator to use his clout to help him secure a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, including by taking actions favorable to Qatar's government. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Fred Daibes, one of three businessmen named as co-defendants with Sen. Bob Menendez, arrives at federal court, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. For the second time in a decade, Menendez faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Daibes is accused of delivering gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator to use his clout to help him secure a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, including by taking actions favorable to Qatar's government. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Wael Hana, right, leaves the federal courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Hana is accused of paying off Menendez for helping him get a lucrative deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

FILE - Wael Hana, right, leaves the federal courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces a corruption trial Monday, May 13, 2024, with his political career and freedom on the line. Hana is accused of paying off Menendez for helping him get a lucrative deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at the Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the first day of his trial at Manhattan federal court, Monday, Monday, May 13, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

FILE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, left, and his wife Nadine Menendez arrive at the federal courthouse in New York, Sept. 27, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Menendez is finding his career and life on the line in a federal criminal case. The New Jersey Democrat goes to trial on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Manhattan federal court. Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes from three wealthy businessmen in his home state and performing a variety of favors in return. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, left, and his wife Nadine Menendez arrive at the federal courthouse in New York, Sept. 27, 2023. For the second time in a decade, Menendez is finding his career and life on the line in a federal criminal case. The New Jersey Democrat goes to trial on Monday, May 13, 2024, in Manhattan federal court. Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes from three wealthy businessmen in his home state and performing a variety of favors in return. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at Manhattan federal court, Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at Manhattan federal court, Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., talks at the Senate Finance hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, March 21, 2024. in Washington. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., talks at the Senate Finance hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, March 21, 2024. in Washington. Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday, May 13, 2024, in the trial of Menendez, a Democrat charged with accepting bribes of gold and cash to use his influence to aid three New Jersey businessmen. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

TORONTO (AP) — Sam Surridge scored his second goal of the game in the 90th minute as Nashville beat Toronto 2-1 on Wednesday night for its first come-from-behind victory of the season.

Nashville (5-5-8) has lost just one of its last six games since a 2-0 win over Toronto on May 15.

Toronto (7-9-3) is winless in its last five league outings and has won just one of its last eight.

Tyler Boyd set up the game-winning goal by cutting through the defense and sending a cross for Surridge to knock home with a backheel finish for his seventh goal of the season.

Surridge tied it at 1-all in the 65th by curling a shot inside the far post.

Alonso Coello scored his first career MLS goal to give Toronto the lead in the 34th. Federico Bernardeschi, returning from suspension, kept the ball in play along the endline and sent a pass to a wide open Coello at the top of the box for a one-touch finish.

Bernardeschi had a chance to score in the 31st but he slipped on a penalty kick, sending the ball over the crossbar. It was Bernardeschi’s third penalty miss of the season.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) moves the ball against Nashville SC defender Josh Bauer (22) during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) moves the ball against Nashville SC defender Josh Bauer (22) during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) slips on a penalty kick against Nashville SC during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) slips on a penalty kick against Nashville SC during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) moves the ball against Nashville SC defender Josh Bauer (22) during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto FC forward Lorenzo Insigne (24) moves the ball against Nashville SC defender Josh Bauer (22) during the first half of a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge (9) celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammate Jack Maher following a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge (9) celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammate Jack Maher following a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz (2) battles for the ball with Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz (2) battles for the ball with Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz (2) battles for the ball with Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz (2) battles for the ball with Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Brent Kallman (44) and goalkeeper Joe Willis (1) celebrate defeating Toronto FC in a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC defender Brent Kallman (44) and goalkeeper Joe Willis (1) celebrate defeating Toronto FC in a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC midfielder Sean Davis (54), goalkeeper Joe Willis (1), and defender Brent Kallman (44) celebrate defeating Toronto FC in a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC midfielder Sean Davis (54), goalkeeper Joe Willis (1), and defender Brent Kallman (44) celebrate defeating Toronto FC in a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge (9) celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammate Daniel Lovitz (2) following a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge (9) celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammate Daniel Lovitz (2) following a MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge, second right, celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammates Sean Davis (54) and Brent Kallman (44) following an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Nashville SC forward Sam Surridge, second right, celebrates his team's win against Toronto FC with teammates Sean Davis (54) and Brent Kallman (44) following an MLS soccer game in Toronto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

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