Defense concludes closing arguments – NBC New York

Late. Bob Menendez’s lawyer cited patriotism as a reason to acquit his client on Wednesday, telling a federal jury that it would be a “win for this country” if it dismisses the government’s bribery case against the Democrat.

“This case, it dies here today,” attorney Adam Fee told a Manhattan federal court jury as it heard closing arguments for a third day.

As Fee finished his closing, Menendez shook his hand. As Menendez left the courthouse, the senator told reporters, “We have taken down the government’s false narratives and exposed their lies.”

Fee said the government had failed to prove “that Bob’s actions were anything other than what we want our elected officials to do.”

“He did his job. He did it well,” Fee added.

The attorney warned jurors to resist the temptation to embrace the government’s “wild story of a corrupt politician, because it’s not there.”

Then, as he closed his argument, he made an acquittal sound patriotic, telling the jury “America wins when flimsy cases brought by overzealous prosecutors are dismissed.”

“That,” Fee added, “will be a win for this country.”

Prosecutors concluded their closing arguments in the New Jersey senator’s corruption trial, telling jurors they should convict Menendez of taking bribes. But defense attorneys pushed back, saying prosecutors never showed any evidence that Menendez ever accepted cash or gold. NBC New York’s Jonathan Dienst reports.

Menendez, 70, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from 2018 to 2022 from three New Jersey businessmen and agreed to take official actions that would benefit their interests, including financially.

The New Jersey senator is on trial with two businessmen, Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, who have also pleaded not guilty. Daibes is a prominent real estate developer in New Jersey while Hana was given a monopoly on certifying that meat exported to Egypt conformed to Islamic rules.

A third businessman, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty and testified against the others during the trial. A trial for the senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, 57, has been postponed while she recovers from breast cancer surgery. She has also pleaded guilty in the bribery case.

The jury was expected to begin deliberations sometime Thursday after the judge instructed them on the law following closing arguments.

Attorneys for Daibes and Hana also told the jury that the government could not prove its case.

“The government is wrong. It hasn’t proven its case,” said attorney Lawrence Lustberg, Hana’s attorney.

A bombshell day in the bribery trial of Senator Bob Menendez as a star witness took the stand. This is reported by Jonathan Dienst from News 4.

Closing arguments began Monday, when Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni told jurors that as they review evidence, they will see that Dabies and Hana were directly responsible for gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash found in a 2022 FBI raid of Menendez’s. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, residence.

Prosecutors said Daibe’s fingerprints “were all over the tape that sealed” envelopes filled with thousands of dollars in cash found in boxes, a safe, boots and jackets in the home. Menendez’s fingerprints were also sometimes found on the envelopes, he added.

He told jurors they will be able to match serial numbers on the gold bars to show Hana provided seven 1-ounce gold bars found in the home, while Daibes contributed nine 1-ounce bars, along with four 1-kg gold bars.

“Why did Daibes and Hana Menendez and his wife shower with these valuables?” asked Monteleoni. “What did they get when they parted with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold, cash and other payments? The promise of power.

“Robert Menendez, the senior US senator from the state of New Jersey, the ranking member and then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put his power up for sale,” he said.

In return, prosecutors say, Hana received support and protection for his monopoly on the certification of meat exports to Egypt while Daibes was aided in his business interests and efforts by the senator to drop a federal indictment against him by recommending a longtime friend as U.S. attorney after the election of President Joe Biden.

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