Federal grand jury investigating New Jersey Sen. Menendez issue subpoenas over corruption allegations

May 17, 2023
Ben Marquis

A federal corruption investigation into Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a close ally of President Joe Biden, has reportedly ramped up and branched out in a new direction with the issuance of new subpoenas, the Conservative Brief reported.

It is possible that this investigation of Menendez, who is up for re-election in 2024, could make his effort to remain in the Senate exceedingly difficult and potentially even force him out of office via resignation if clearly corrupt and criminal activities by the New Jersey senator are publicly exposed.

Mayor of New Jersey city subpoenaed as part of Menendez probe

NBC News reported last week that new subpoenas were issued by a federal grand jury as part of the investigation into Sen. Menendez, with at least one of those subpoenas being aimed at a powerful local politician in New Jersey, North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco.

A spokesman for Sacco, who had just been re-elected last Tuesday, confirmed on Friday the receipt of a subpoena "seeking information and records regarding several different matters that he was informed are being sought in connection to an ongoing investigation that is not related to him."

The spokesman added, "Mayor Sacco has been assured that he is not a target of the investigation and was approached only as a potential witness, and he intends to cooperate fully and provide any requested information as he would with any law enforcement inquiry."

Similarly, a spokesperson for the city of North Bergen said in a statement, "As they always have, Mayor Sacco and the Township of North Bergen will comply with any inquiry they receive from law enforcement and will cooperate fully."

Subpoenas part of expanded federal corruption probe

NBC News noted that it was unclear exactly what the new subpoenas were in relation to, and anonymous sources confirmed that while the subpoenas were connected to the federal probe of Sen. Menendez, they were not related to the main thrust of that investigation that is centered on allegations of corruption and improper gifts received he and his wife allegedly received from a halal meat certification company located in New Jersey known as IS EG Halal.

That small company is under scrutiny after it mysteriously received an exclusive contract to provide all halal certifications for meat imported into the nation of Egypt. Notably, Menendez is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees billions of taxpayer dollars in aid to Egypt, while his wife is reportedly close friends with the owners of the small halal certification company.

Yet, while NBC News remained unclear on the precise subject of the subpoenas issued to Mayor Sacco and others in New Jersey, The New York Times reported that the subpoenas could be seeking the business records of IS EG Halal as well as information about a stalled bill in the state legislature that Sacco, who also serves as a state senator, has sponsored.

According to an unnamed source, the subpoena is seeking any correspondence related to that bill that includes Sen. Menendez, his wife, or a once prominent real estate developer named Fred Daibes who pleaded guilty last year to federal financial crimes but received no prison time.

The bill itself would impose limits on real estate along a portion of the Hudson River known as Palisades Cliffs, an area where Daibes has previously done substantial work, and the legislation that would limit future work has been opposed by other developers and construction worker unions.

New investigation acknowledged last year; legal defense funds built up

Politico reported in October 2022 that a new federal investigation into Sen. Menendez had been opened, and at that time the senator's top advisor said in a statement that "Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today. However, he does not know the scope of the investigation."

Five years earlier, the New Jersey senator had avoided trouble when a jury was deadlocked and a mistrial declared in a separate corruption trial involving improper gifts received in exchange for favors performed for a personal friend, an eye doctor in Florida named Salomon Melgen, who was convicted on separate Medicare fraud charges but pardoned by former President Donald Trump, according to NorthJersey.com.

That local outlet, which also noted at least three other federal corruption probes into Menendez prior to the current probe and the 2017 mistrial, reported in April that the senator had paid two law firms a combined total of $175,000-plus, per federal records, as a sort of "legal defense war chest" in relation to the current federal investigation.

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