Menendez can postpone trial till late summer, federal prosecutors say

Federal prosecutors asked a federal judge to delay the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife by at least two months on Wednesday, one day after attorneys for Nadine Menendez said she requires surgery for a serious medical condition.

Prosecutors told U.S. District Court Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan that the May 6 trial could be pushed back to late July or August because they still want to try both defendants together, according to a letter sent on Wednesday.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is attending a Senate Finance Committee hearing about President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for fiscal 2025 in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2024. (Aaron Schwartz/NurPhoto via AP)

While Nadine Menendez’s medical condition has not been publicly disclosed, defense attorneys have said surgery will be required within four to six weeks and may result in follow-up treatment, according to Reuters.

The couple and two other defendants have been charged in a wide-ranging bribery conspiracy and have pleaded not guilty to the charges they face. Prosecutors told the judge they still oppose a request by the senator’s spouse for indefinite adjournment.

Menendez is accused of obstructing justice and accepting money, gold bars, and luxury vehicles to use his influential position on behalf of the Egyptian and Qatari governments.

Meanwhile, the judge set a Thursday conference to decide on outstanding motions in the case. The conference could decide the trial date, how many trials will take place, and what will be considered admissible evidence during the trial.

Nadine Menendez and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) arrive at Manhattan federal court, Monday, March 11, 2024, in New York. They are being charged with conspiring with three businessmen to accept bribes of gold bars, cash, and a luxury car in return for the senator’s help in projects pursued by the businessmen. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

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The New Jersey senator has faced calls from several prominent Democrats to resign, including vocal and repeated calls from Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA). Menendez is up for reelection but has chosen to run as an independent if he is exonerated.

As the 2024 election approaches, several seats held by Democrats or independents who caucus with the party could be closely contested, making Menendez’s indictment a high-stakes event amid Democrats’ narrow hold of a 51-49 Senate majority.

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