April 23, 2024

The case against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) continues to take shape as federal prosecutors seek to convict him of crimes related to bribery, corruption, and working for a foreign government without registering as a foreign agent. In a new development, it appears the senator reportedly attempted to place someone in the U.S. attorney’s office to help out a friend who was facing federal prosecution.

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Menendez is accused of trying to use his position to place an ally and friend in a high position that would grant him more influence.

An old friend and political patron was facing federal prosecution. And as New Jersey’s senior senator, Menendez was in a position to help, by recommending the next leader of the office overseeing the case.

In early 2021, Menendez urged President Joe Biden to nominate a lawyer he knew well as the state’s next U.S. attorney: Esther Suarez, a politically connected prosecutor in his home county. It did not go as planned.

And who was this friend Menendez sought to help? It was none other than Fred Daibes, who is now part of the indictment against the senator and his wife. He is accused of being one of three businessmen who bribed the lawmaker in exchange for various favors.

However, Menendez’s alleged scheme did not work because the Justice Department did not hire her.

When White House and Justice Department officials interviewed Suarez, they found her knowledge of federal law lacking, and they had substantial concerns about her qualifications, according to four people familiar with the sessions.

Menendez pushed for Suarez to be given another chance, the people said. But after a rare second interview, the result was the same.

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The prosecution has argued that the senator’s actions in this saga were not simply about helping out a friend; they were an effort to leverage his influence as a sitting lawmaker to benefit those who were bribing him. “Menendez’s attempts to fill the position were part of a brazen scheme to sell his office for cash, gold bars, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible,” states the federal indictment.

What is also interesting about this bit of information is that the senator was dissatisfied with another potential candidate, Phillip R. Sellinger. The reason for Menendez’s distaste for the candidate is because Sellinger intimated that he may have to recuse himself from the Daibes case.

Menendez defended his effort to place Suarez in a position of power by trotting out the usual race-baiting nonsense common among Democrats. He claimed he recommended her “based on her experience and credentials, both as a Latina jurist and prosecutor.”

Sen. Menendez and his wife have pleaded not guilty to all the charges. If convicted, they could both face over 20 years in federal prison.

The senator’s alleged actions are already egregious enough. But when one steps back and takes a larger view of the situation, this story shows even further how the justice system is fraught with people in power using their influence to ensure certain people don’t receive justice. It peels back the layers on the reality that Americans live under a two-tier justice system in which the elites can often get away with crimes for which the rest of us would spend years in a cage. At the end of the day, if Menendez is convicted, the nation will see once again that the integrity of our justice system leaves much to be desired.

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