Sen. Bob Menendez declines to testify in his bribery trial as the defense rests


Defense attorneys in Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal bribery trial rested their case Wednesday without his taking the stand.

Menendez, D-N.J., briefly spoke to reporters after he left the New York courthouse and explained his decision not to testify.

From my perspective, the government has failed to prove every aspect of this case,” he said, adding that he did not believe testifying made sense and that he expected the jury to find him not guilty.

Closing arguments are expected next week.

Prosecutors have alleged that bribes in the form of gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash were uncovered during a search of Menendez’s home in 2022, with “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe,” according to the indictment.

They also said the bribes were paid from 2018 to 2022 by three businessmen in exchange for official acts from Menendez as senator.

Menendez is standing trial with two of the businessmen — Wael Hana and Fred Daibes — after the third person, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify at trial as part of a deal with prosecutors. Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, also faces charges in the case. Her trial was postponed as she recovers from breast cancer surgery.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, including bribery, acting as a foreign agent of Egypt and obstruction of justice. His wife and the two other businessmen have also pleaded not guilty.

He stepped down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shortly after he was indicted in September, but he has resisted calls from fellow Democrats for his resignation.

Menendez has served in the Senate since 2006. He filed last month to run for re-election as an independent and is expected to face Rep. Andy Kim, who won the Democratic Senate primary, and Republican nominee Curtis Bashaw in November.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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