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In Menendez Trial Staffer Arkin Testifies on Going Quiet on Egypt Heaping Praise on Qatar

by Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 24 – Amid reports of investigation against Sen. Robert Menendez for taking gold bars, Inner City Press' sources on September 21 it to expect on Friday, September 22 an appearance in Federal court in Manhattan by Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian. This scoop was true.

Later a superseder was unveiled, including charges of bribes to act for Qatar...

On April 11, 2024 after Nadine Menendez and then the government asked for delay, to July or undefined, Judge Stein severed her case and reaffirmed May 6, Inner City Press thread

On Sunday night April 14 the US wrote in again asking for a delay to July, six page letter on Patreon here.

But Judge Stein told the parties to confer and report by April 16 at 1 pm. Then he set an April 17 conference, which Inner City Press live tweeted and dubbed "Berate-gate," thread

On May 13, jury selection began - but did not finish. Abit later, Menendez got into an car with FOP NJ plates.

On May 14 jury selection continued but was not yet completed, from the ending, thread

Late on May 14, the US Attorney's Office filed opposition to slides the defense wants to use in its opening arguments, including quotes from Colin Powell and MLK, and when Nadine came into possession of gold - full letter on Patreon here

Inner City Press live tweeted jury selection and then opening arguments here, then filmed Bob's exit (he said he thought it went well and that his guy did great).

On May 21, the US Attorney's Office put on Wael Hana's lawyer, then a US State Department official working on Congressional approval (or holds) on arms transfer to Egypt, thread here.

On May 23, with the trial in haitus, docketed was Menendez' lawyers opposition to quashing his subpoena for Jose Uribe's attorney proffer and communications with SDNY prosecutors, filing on Patreon here

On May 29, Inner City Press live tweeted, omitting Morton's steakhouse but including this

On May 30, Menendez's lawyer's (long) cross, including this.

On May 31, starting 1 pm, the agent was cross examined, and then USDA Ted McKinney on direct, thread

  After the trial day, Inner City Press filed Menendez' walk to his Jersey-plated car; asked why he called McKinney he said, Wait for the cross [examination].

Nadine Menendez hired a new lawyer, who previously represented Sydney Powell among others. Then this: "ORDER as to Nadine Menendez: At the request of the defendant and with the consent of the government [Doc. No. 434], the status conference is adjourned from June 10 to June 12 at 5 :00 p.m.(Signed by Judge Sidney H. Stein on 6/3/2024)."

On June 4 Judge Stein dockted a partially redacted Order in which he denied Menendez's request that the prosecutors give him impeachment material about a Confidential Human Source they are not going to call as a witness - but Menendez said he will.

On June 5, Inner City Press live tweeted - and afterward asked Menendez a question. Thread.

On June 6, after more cross of Agent Graves, Gurbir Grewal testified, thread

On June 7, after an FBI fingerprint expert, cooperator Jose Uribe, Inner City Press live tweeted, thread

On June 10, Uribe finished his direct examination around 4 pm, then counsel for Hana, not yet Menendez, began cross examination, thread.

On June 11, Uribe was cross examined - though not on the "strip club issue" after which out on Worth Street Menendez decried Uribe's crimes. Thread

On June 12, after the end of Uribe (including drunk driving and the "little bell"), US Attorney of NJ Sellinger took the stand, thread.

On June 13, trial day - and next day - was canceled by Daibes calling in with COVID: thread.

And then, book: GOLD BAR BAR Menendez Trial I, on Amazon here.

On June 18, after Daibes' COVID, things resumed with Sellinger, followed by Matt Soliman.

On June 20, alongside an FBI agent summary witness, a prosecution office witness out of order, thread.

On June 24, Menendez's staffer Sarah Arkin took the stand, from the thread:

OK - now US v. Menendez before jury in, defense says not only Bob but Blinken praised Qatar (evidence will come in).  Judge (to the defense) Gamesmanship is over. The defense is to provide the topics its witness will testify to. Bring in the witness. Defense: Can the Court hear me though this Hannibal Lecter cage? Judge: Yes. Bring in the jury. 

Jury entering! Judge: Continue and conclude cross examination of Agent Van Wie. Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Do you recall this, from Cory Booker, "I hope to be your wingman again" with regard to Qatar, about a dinner? Van Wie: Yes and no, I infer Judge: Sustained  

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Are you aware that this Qatar dinner was also attended by Senator Coons, and Rep. Meeks? FBI Agent Van Wie: I am not aware. Weitzman: Senator Menendez replies to Cory Booker about a meeting for the Dominican Republic with Blackstone? 

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: This photo of a gold bar, the metadata does not show if it was sent to Robert Menendez, does it? FBI Agent Van Wie: I don't see that. Weitzman: Do you know why Nadine took a picture of this gold? Van Wie: I don't.  Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: In relation to these real estate searches, are you aware that people use Zillow as escapist fantasy? [Laughter]

Judge: Sustained and stricken, the record should reflect that the jury laughed. I don't know what escapist fantasy is.  Menenez's lawyer Weitzman: Qatar's support to Yemen, didn't others also praise Qatar? Judge: Sustained.

Weitzman: In the chart, Rep Meeks writes in reply to WFP Chief Beasley, I thank Qatar for its contribution to UN WFP - you see that? FBI Agent Van Wie: Yes. Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Are you aware this was praise of the UN World Food Program? FBI Agent Van Wie: I am not aware of that program.

Weitzman: And beyond Senator Menendez's praise of Qatar, other Senators met with Qatar? FBI Agent Van Wie: I don't know.  

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Do you agree that glazed donuts would be a dumb codeword for gold bars? Judge: Sustained.... Weitzman: Are you aware Senator Menendez also searched for the price of Brent Crude Oil? Agent Van Wie: No 

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Didn't Senator Menendez's Google account search for the price of vintage gold coins? Agent Van Wie: So it seems. Weitzman: Nothing further 

Judge: OK, we'll break. [With jury out - about Speech or Debate Clause]

AUSA Richenthal: Under Brewster, it is a crime - an offer of an item of value to an elected officials for this action. We can't elicit that the official actually took action Judge: Wait, wait --  Judge: Press releases are fair game, vis a vis Speech or Debate. Menendez's lawyer: On Egypt, he discussed an entire approach, what to do with arms. We need voir dire AUSA Richenthal: This is disruptive. I spoke with Mr. Weitzman yesterday. This is a waste  Judge: The defense has been sandbagging the Government. This should have been worked out far in advance of this moment. There will be no testimony on arms. We'll break

 All rise! Judge: The jury is ready. Put the witness on the stand.

AUSA Richenthal: One thing - she will use the word arms. Judge: In what context? AUSA: When I ask her about Egyptian officials, what did they want? Judge: That's fine.  Jury entering! AUSA Richenthal: Can Senate Resolutions concern the US' relations with a foreign nation? Staffer-1: Yes. AUSA: When you met with Egypt, what did they want? Staffer-1: Military financing without conditions.  AUSA Richenthal: What was this? Staffer-1, Sarah Arkin: I emailed Dana Stroul a copy of Senator Menendez's handwritten invitation to the Egyptian military attache. AUSA: Why did you send it?

Arkin: Because I found the invitation strange. I attended the meeting  AUSA Richethal: What did the Egyptian official request? Arkin: Military aid without conditions. AUSA: Who else was there? Arkin: A number of people, but the only one identified to me was Nadine, the Senator's girlfriend. AUSA: Had you ever met Nadine before? No   AUSA Richenthal: What happened next?

Arkin: I proposed a letter before President Sisi's visit. Senator Menendez said, I want to take a quieter role. I have a lot of Coptics in NJ who like Sisi. AUSA: What are Copts? Arkin: A small sect, 10%  AUSA Richenthal: Did you become aware of meetings Senator Menendez had with Egypt that you weren't at and didn't get read-outs of? Arkin: Yes.  AUSA Richenthal: What did Qatari official say their goals were? Judge: Is there any objection?

Menendez's lawyer: I have no objection to her saying with Qatar *asked*... AUSA: I'll sask, who is the Emir of Qatar? Arkin: Effectively the head of state  AUSA Richenthal: Before this press release praising Qatar for help in evacuation from Afghanistan was there a draft thanking other countries as well? Arkin: Yes. Most of the staff were trying to get information on all countries who helped. RM said, One just Qatar 

AUSA: Might be a good time to break now. Judge: OK

 Cross examination. Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Ms. Arkin, as you aware of the role of the SFRC, as reflected by this document? Arkin: Yes.

Weitzman: Fair to say a Senator chooses whether to take a dig at a Secretary of State?  Arkin: If you're getting multiple Senators to sign on to a letter, there's a process of negotiation. Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Your draft said Sisi should keep his pledge to leave office - but that would be a big deal for a Senator to ask for, right? A: Yes. 

Arkin: This called for him to keep his pledge. It's pretty standard fare. Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: He said he had a lot of Coptic Christian constituents in Egypt [?] who liked Sisi- AUSA: 401 Arkin: The previous government had been Muslim Brotherhood, so yes 

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Are you aware Senator Menendez met with Bishop David in NJ? Arkin: I know he met Coptic leaders. Judge: We're done for the day.

More on X for Subscribers here and Substack here

The case is US v. Menendez, et al., 23-cr-490 (Stein)

More on Substack here


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