Menendez Ally Pleads Guilty to Bribing Senator—and Agrees to Cooperate

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A businessman pleaded guilty to bribing Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife on Friday and has agreed to cooperate with the investigation against the couple.

On Friday, Jose Uribe’s counsel submitted a request to withdraw his original “not guilty” plea and enter a new “guilty” one. In his formal plea deal, Uribe agreed to “cooperate fully” with prosecutors.

The New Jersey businessman admitted to supplying Menendez and his wife Nadine with a new Mercedes-Benz C-300, worth upwards of $60,000, after Nadine hit and killed a man with her previous car. In exchange for the gift, Menendez was to meddle in an insurance fraud investigation concerning two of Uribe’s business associates, according to prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors allege that the senator pressured the senior prosecutor on those cases to reach a favorable conclusion for Uribe. While prosecutors say that Menendez’s attempt to influence the case was unsuccessful, one of Uribe’s associates received a plea deal with no jail time and no charges were ever brought against the other.

Uribe admitted that the gifted sports car was intended to “influence an official act,” and pleaded guilty to seven charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.

Uribe is an associate of Wael Hana, who is also implicated in the case, and accused of being an agent for Egypt. Hana owns IS EG Halal, which paid at least three $10,000 checks to Strategic International Business Consultants, a company owned by Nadine Menendez, according to prosecutors. Hana is also accused of passing instructions to Nadine from the Egyptian Defense Ministry for her husband.

Uribe has agreed to “truthfully and completely disclose all information with respect to the activities of himself and others concerning all matters about which this office inquires of him,” according to the plea deal.

According to his deal, Uribe could face up to 95 years in prison. He can reduce this sentence by cooperating and testifying against the senator, his wife, and the two others charged in the bribery scheme. All defendants originally pleaded not guilty.

In splitting his case from his wife’s, Menendez has sought to sever his case from Hana, Uribe, and Daibes, with legal counsel claiming that he could be unfairly tarred by association with their crimes.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.