NJ businessman Jose Uribe testifies that he bribed ‘Gold Bar Bob’ Menendez with a Mercedes-Benz

A New Jersey businessman testified Friday that he bribed Sen. Bob Menendez, telling jurors in the Garden State Democrat’s federal corruption trial that he provided the lawmaker’s wife with a Mercedes-Benz to shut down a criminal probe.

“She agreed to the terms,” Jose Uribe told the Federal District Court in Manhattan of Nadine Menendez’s reaction to his March 2019 offer to buy her a $60,000 luxury convertible if she could get her 70-year-old senator husband to scuttle an investigation into two of his associates by the state attorney general’s office.

Jose Uribe
Jose Uribe took the witness stand Friday and admitted to bribing Menendez. AP

The terms of the deal involved hooking Nadine Menendez up with the new Mercedes-Benz C-300 in exchange for gaining “the power and influence” of the six-term senator “to do anything possible to stop and kill” the probe, Uribe testified.

Uribe, 57, pleaded guilty in March and is the star witness in the government’s sprawling corruption case against the Menendezes, in which the embattled lawmaker and his wife stand accused of accepting the car, more than $150,000 in gold bars, $566,000 in cash payments and other lavish gifts in exchange for favors to Uribe, businessmen Wael Hana and Fred Daibes and the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

“I knew that giving a car in return for influencing a United States senator to stop a criminal investigation was wrong,” Uribe told the court when he entered his plea.

“I deeply regret my actions.”

Uribe told the jury Friday that he conspired with Hana to pay off the couple to stave off investigations into the trucking business of a friend, Elvis Parra, and his own insurance business, which insured Parra’s trucks.

Former New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal testified Thursday that Menendez tried to pressure him into discussing the trucking business investigation with him in 2019 and that he quickly shut the senator down.

Bob Menendez
Menendez faces up to 45 years in prison for each count against him. AP

Both Bob and Nadine Menendez are facing 18 criminal counts in the bribery case.

The senator faces up to 45 years in prison for each count if found guilty.

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