What the cases of Robert Menendez and Henry Cuellar have in common


A stone’s throw from the Manhattan courthouse the place Donald Trump has been within the dock, an equally picaresque political-corruption trial is beneath means with much less publicity. Robert Menendez, New Jersey’s Democratic senior senator, is charged with bribery and extortion, amongst different crimes. He allegedly used his affect as chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee to assist Egypt and Qatar in alternate for gold bars, a Mercedes and money. “This was politics for revenue,” Lara Pomerantz, a federal prosecutor, declared in her opening assertion. Mr Menendez, who asserts his innocence and has declined to resign from workplace, was a “United States senator on the take”, she added.

Bribery circumstances might be exhausting to get throughout to a jury if the alleged quid professional quo is refined or oblique. Mr Menendez’s habits of non-public finance have offered prosecutors with some helpful visible aids. Final week they confirmed jurors pictures of the alleged loot seized from the senator’s dwelling: not simply the now-famous gold bars, but in addition wads of money stuffed right into a Timberland boot. Federal brokers discovered more money in luggage and in two of the senator’s jackets. The FBI bought so flustered counting the cash by hand that it needed to have two cash-counting machines introduced in to tally what turned out to be $486,461.

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