The latest indictment of Robert Menendez almost seems like a personal challenge to Clarence Thomas, to see if there are bribes of a public official that Thomas and his cronies on the Supreme Court won’t find a way to deem constitutional.
After all, what if Thomas is getting gold bars on the side from his “friends,” as Menendez is alleged to have been?
The short version, though, is that after Menendez’ last corruption prosecution, Nadine Arslanian started dating then married Menendez. And he started doing favors for some of her friends, Wael Hanna and Fred Daibes, who had ties to Egypt, including sharing non-public information with Egyptian officials and helping Hanna secure the monopoly on halal certification for meat imported into Egypt.
The indictment alleges a lot of breath-taking stupidity on Menedez’ part, including twice searching for the price of gold after doing something incriminating.
On or about October 17, 2021, ROBERT MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ, a/k/a “Nadine Arslanian,” the defendants, returned from Egypt as described in paragraph 29.f, landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Upon their arrival, a driver for FRED DAIBES, the defendant (“DAIBES’s Driver”), picked up MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ from the airport and drove them to their home in New Jersey. The next day, MENENDEZ performed a web search for “how much is one kilo of gold worth.” As discussed herein, multiple gold bars provided by DAIBES were found during the court-authorized June 2022 search of MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ’s residence.
d. On or about January 24, 2022, DAIBES’s Driver exchanged two brief calls with NADINE MENENDEZ. NADINE MENENDEZ then texted DAIBES, writing, “Thank you. Christmas in January.” DAIBES’s Driver’s fingerprints were later found on an envelope containing thousands of dollars of cash recovered from the residence of MENENDEZ and NADINE MENENDEZ in New Jersey. This envelope also bore DAIBES’s DNA and was marked with DAIBES’s return address. In or about the early afternoon of January 24, 2022— i.e., approximately two hours after NADINE MENENDEZ had texted DAIBES thanking him and writing “Christmas in January”—MENENDEZ called Official-4, in a call lasting for approximately 15 seconds. This was MENENDEZ’s first phone call to Official-4. On or about January 29, 2022—i.e., several days after NADINE MENENDEZ had texted DAIBES, thanking him and writing “Christmas in January”—MENENDEZ performed a Google search for “kilo of gold price.”
When the FBI searched Menendez’ home last year, they found over $100,000 in gold bars, as well as $480,000 in cash.
The gold bars and some of the envelopes had the fingerprints of their alleged co-defendants.
Some of these allegations will be harder to prove. Some will be easier to pin on Nadine, unless and until one of the spouses flips on the other.
But Menendez, who escaped justice the last time DOJ tried to prosecute him for his corruption in 2015, certainly seems to have pressed his luck.