Bob ‘Gold Bars’ Menendez reveals wife Nadine’s cancer diagnosis a day after blaming her for bribery charges

The Democratic senator from New Jersey faces 16 corruption-related charges

Katie Hawkinson,Ariana Baio
Thursday 16 May 2024 18:56
Related video: Bob Menendez leaves Manhattan court after pleading not guilty to corruption charges

Senator Bob Menendez revealed his wife, Nadine Menendez, is fighting breast cancer a day after blaming her for the criminal bribery charges he faces.

“As a result of constant press inquiries and reporters following my wife, she has asked me to disclose her medical condition,” the New Jersey lawmaker said in a statement on Thursday. “Nadine is suffering from Grade 3 breast cancer, which will require her to have mastectomy surgery.”

“We are of course, concerned about the seriousness and advanced stage of the disease,” he continued. “She will require follow up surgery and possibly radiation treatment. We hope and pray for the best results.”

Mr Menendez, his wife and three New Jersey men - Wael Hana, Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe - were indicted in September 2023 over an alleged scheme in which the couple accepted gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and payments for a Mercedes convertible in exchange for his political influence.

Ms Menendez requested earlier this year to undergo a separate trial from her husband and the New Jersey businessmen, citing a serious medical condition in court filings. She is supposed to face trial later this summer.

Nadine Menendez (left) and Bob Menendez (right) leave Manhattan Criminal Court. The senator announced on Thursday his wife is fighting breast cancer (AFP via Getty Images)

The lawmaker’s actions ultimately benefitted the Egyptian and Qatari governments, according to prosecutors. The 70-year-old Democrat faces 16 federal charges, including bribery, acting as a foreign agent, obstruction of justice and extortion. He has pleaded not guilty and denies all wrongdoing.

Menendez’s defense attorney blamed his wife for accepting gold bars, cash payments and hiding them from him, during opening statements at his trial on Wednesday. Avi Weitzman told the jury that the senator knew nothing of the gold bars and cash, which had been recovered from his New Jersey home in June 2022.

The lawyer argued that it was his wife who accepted the lavish bribes, hid them from her husband and then served as a messenger between the senator, his co-defendants and Egyptian officials.

Mr Weitzman also told jurors that Ms Menendez lives a separate life from her husband and kept the gold bars locked in her closet. He told the jury to ask themselves: “Where’s Bob?” while listening to the trial, showing the jury an image of the comic book character from Where’s Waldo.

Menendez is on trial with Mr Daibes, a real estate developer, and businessman Mr Hana. They too have pleaded not guilty. Mr Uribe took an earlier plea deal. Proceedings are expected to last six to seven weeks.

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