Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife face 18 new criminal charges

"The latest accusation reveals much more about the government than about me," defended the New Jersey legislator, now accused of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife, Nadine Menendez, now face 18 new criminal charges in addition to the bribery case involving the governments of Qatar and Egypt.

The new indictment formally presents charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, public officials acting as a foreign agent, bribery, extortion, and honest services wire fraud.

Those charges come days after a businessman who allegedly bribed Menéndez with a Mercedes, José Uribe, pleaded guilty to seven charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

In particular, federal prosecutors in Manhattan stated in their new indictment that the senator's former lawyers falsely said last year that Menéndez was not aware until 2022 of the bribe payments that two businessmen had made to his wife.

Those lawyers stated that when Menéndez learned of the payments, the senator thought they were loans.

"In truth and in fact, and as Menendez well knew, Menendez had learned of both the mortgage company payment and the car payments prior to 2022, and they were not loans, but bribe payments," prosecutors wrote in the new accusation.

Meanwhile, Menéndez accused prosecutors of orchestrating a political persecution against him.

"Not content – or capable – of meeting those facts fairly at trial, the government has now falsely alleged a cover-up and obstruction," Menéndez defended himself in a statement this Tuesday.

"The latest charge reveals far more about the government than it says about me," the senator added. "It says that the prosecutors are afraid of the facts, scared to subject their charges to the fair-minded scrutiny of a jury, and unconstrained by any sense of justice or fair play. It says, once and for all, that they will stop at nothing in their zeal to get me."

Is Uribe related to the new accusations against Menéndez?

According to a report in The New York Times, the new accusations appear to arise from José Uribe's cooperation with government investigators.

According to the Times, Uribe said last Friday that he met with Ms. Menendez at a Marriott hotel after receiving a subpoena for the case. In said meeting, the Democratic senator's wife told the businessman, according to his version, that she wanted to clarify the story about a Mercedes-Benz convertible that he had given her as an alleged bribe.

"She asked what was I going to say if somebody asked me about the car payments," said Uribe, who claimed he agreed to lie to investigators and lawyers.