Much of the money was stuffed into envelopes and boxes and hidden throughout the house, as well as in jackets with the veteran senator’s name.
Gold bars worth about $150,000 and a luxurious Mercedes Benz convertible given by one of the businessmen were also found.
Menendez accepted the money to help protect two of the businessmen from Justice Department investigations and to help the third, an Egyptian-American, with a business monopoly he had been granted by the Egyptian government, according to the indictment.
Additionally, “Menendez provided sensitive information to the United States government and took other actions that secretly assisted the government of Egypt,” the indictment states.
The senator, his wife and the three businessmen, Wael Hana, José Uribe and Fred Daibes, were charged with two counts of bribery and fraud. Menendez and his wife were also charged with extortion. If convicted, the most serious charges can carry up to 20 years in prison.
Second corruption accusation
A senator since 2006 and previously a member of the House of Representatives for 14 years, Menéndez has been a staunch Democrat in Congress for three decades.
As president of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has been a fierce opponent of the normalization of relations with Cuba.
He has also been a staunch enemy of Venezuela and China, and a defender of Israel.
In 2015, he was accused of accepting bribes for private jet flights, luxury vacations and more than $750,000 in illegal campaign donations.
But the charges were dismissed three years later because the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
Prepared for re-election
Menendez is running for re-election to the Senate next year, but it is unclear how his status may influence New Jersey voters.
“To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask you to remember the other times prosecutors were wrong and to reserve judgment,” Menendez said in a statement Friday.
Democrats head into the 2024 elections with a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate.