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In Menendez Trial He Declines to Testify Saying Outside Court US Has Not Proved Its Case

by Matthew Russell Lee

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 3 – 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

On June 25, Sarah Arkin finished up, including about upcoming job at State Department. Then, a currency (and money laundering) expert from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. From the thread

On June 26, there testimony about currency, and then a jocular Armenian jeweler, from the thread

On June 27, the Senate Ethics Committee director, then a cell site expert, from the thread

On June 28, the last US witness, on Menendez's M&T account, and gold in Nadine's Chase Bank safety deposit box, thread

On July 1 the defense case began, his and Nadine's sisters amid a flurry of motions, thread

On July 2, at 5 instead of 4 pm, rapid rulings on exhibits to set up Menendez's defense resting on Friday, thread

On July 3, Team Menendez rested (then outside court Menendez said the US had not proved its case so he didn't testify), from the thread:

 [In the courtroom: Bob Menendez sitting smiling in the front row of the gallery as at defense table his lawyers Fee and Weitzman go through sheafs of paper, and Wael Hana stands with his hands in his suitpants pockets, also laughing... Drum roll... 

All rise! Judge Stein: Before the jury comes in, as to Hana's defense case, only Egypt is relevant, not Latin America or India. Employee Number 5 can testify, including about Nadine. Those are the parameters.  Hana's lawyer Lustberg: We're trying to get one of the witnesses here, he might get a visa today, just before the weekend in Egypt. We may have to make some sort of application. Judge Stein: I want to keep our use of the jury's time efficient. I won't delay it 

Hana's lawyer Lustberg: We think the current status of his company is relevant to rebutting that it was a completely bogus firm when it was given the license. Judge Stein: I don't think that's relevant. Let's see if the US wants to talk me out of it (laughter)  Judge Stein: Also, the jurors have asked for an extra 15 minutes for lunch today, it comes at an inopportune time but I'm going to give it to them, they've been timely. What's the expected length of direct?

Menendez's lawyer: No agreement with US... 

All rise - jury entering! Judge Stein: Ladies and gentleman, I looked with the lawyers last night until 7 pm. Now we'll hear a video deposition. Senator Menendez calls Michael Critchley [shown in his office in Roseland NJ]  Q: Did you step in to represent Elvis Parra?

Critchley: Yes. I believe there had been a plea offer. Q: What was it? [Critchley is shown letter to predecessor counsel Howard Dorian, 5 year plea offer.]

Critchley: I can't discuss that.  With US v. Menendez set to re-start at 2:15 pm, Bob is in the first row of the gallery chatting with another white-haired man, pointing out the courtroom, smiling. Both of his lawyers are laughing. Now Daibes and Hana arrive.  All rise! Menendez's lawyer Fee: Mr Weitzman has shortened his presentation. But we are concerned that your instruction to the lawyers not to read out loud the entries in the chart, only in the defense case, that it may have signaled to jurors we're less important  Judge: What do you want me to do?

Menendez's lawyer Fee: If Mr. Weitzman in his 15 minutes refers to some, perhaps don't give the instruction Judge: Done. I'll bring the jury back. All rise!  Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: Here is an entry from 2018 from Uribe to Hana. Witness: The deal is to stop all investigations. Weitzman: And this, to Hana from Nadine Witness: Nadine asks, Who did they hire? Wael says, I'll ask. Nadine: I need to do the fundraiser  Witness: This is from Hana to Doug Anton, Let me know when you send email

Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: What does Doug Anton text Will? Witness: Were you able to reach out to the client? Will replies, Anytime - then texts Uribe, You got the papers? Uribe replies Yes  Now Hana's lawyer's turn. Hana's lawyer Solano: Line 75-6 on Line 2 Witness: Nadine writes to Hana, "Good morning Wael, I just heard about the two explosions in Egypt, hope your family is OK." He replied, Everyone OK.  Daibes' counsel has no quesions. Cross examination. AUSA Monteleoni: Did you verify when these US Egypt embassy numbers are from?

Witness: I did not.  Now the deployment of the Wayback Machine Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: So this report was available in 2018? Witness: Uh, yes? Weitzman: DX 1302, line 345-7... The Dec 18 date, but they say it's Dec 14 - put up 1303, 87. Fair to say it's a type and not intentional?  AUSA: Objection! Judge: Sustained. Re-cross.

AUSA: Please scroll down -- Menendez's lawyer Weitzman: If we have a different version it's not on us. Judge: Sidebar [Whispered sidebar ensues]  Judge Stein: You are excused. And I'll inform the jurors of that when they return.... [Jury out] Judge Stein: I understand Mr. Menendez has no more witnesses? OK, Mr. Menendez do you understand you don't have to put on a case, you understand? Menendez: Yes I do 

Judge Stein: Mr. Menendez you have a right to testify, do you understand?

Menendez: Yes I do, your Honor. Judge Stein: This decision is not for your lawyer but for you, whether to take the stand, it's for you, do you understand? Menendez: Yes I do  Judge Stein: You do not wish to take the stand, Mr. Menendez? He does not. Judge Stein: When the jury comes back, I'll ask if you rest. Daibes's lawyer: We will not call witnesses, nor will Mr. Daibes testify. [Daibes confirms it]

 Judge: Let's bring this jury back in. All rise! Jury entering! Judge Stein: Mr. Weitzman, is there an additional witness for Mr. Menendez? Menendez's lawyer Adam Fee: It's Mr. Fee and no, Mr. Menendez has no more witnesses. We rest.  Daibes rests. Hana's lawyer: We call our first witness. It's a woman from Hana's halal meat business, in Montevideo, Uruguay, Carolina. Hana's lawyer: Did Nadine Arslanian text with you? Carolina: Yes. She was to help with office space in India 

Hana's lawyer: Did she? Carolina: No. Hana's lawyer: Did Mr. Hana fired other people for not performing? Carolina: He did. Hana's lawyer: No further questions. Menendez's lawyer Adam Fee: In this email, doesn't Nadine talk about Eros Tower in Delhi? Yes  Cross examination. AUSA Richenthal: You had no role in the start-up of the company in the USA, did you? Carolina: No. Only in Uruguay. AUSA: And you had to fly in to testify? Carolina: Yes. 

Judge: Jurors, give me ten minutes to discuss with the lawyers then come back in. [Jurors leave] Hana's lawyer Lustberg: We have a witness we hope will be here on Monday morning. We ask the court's indulgence. Judge: Monday morning. And that's the end of the case  Judge: So charging conference Monday 9:30, witness at 11.

AUSA Monteleoni: So summations on Tuesday? We need to respond to changes to the charge. Judge: I'll bring in the jury 10:30 on Monday. A two hour lunch and we'll start summations. I'll tell them now.  Jury entering! Judge: Enjoy the 4th. Come in Monday at 10:30. I told you my expectation is you'd get the case by the end of the week of July 8. That's still on. Jury leaves. Adjourned. Now vlog

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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