Prosecutors reporrtedly are expected to meet with Menendez’s lawyers in the next few weeks, a sign that prosecutors have “developed the evidence they need to bring charges.” Meetings like this typically occur toward the end of an investigation so defense lawyers can present reasons why their clients should not be charged.
The criminal investigation into Menendez, which first made news last October, originally centered around how IS EG Halal, a New Jersey-based halal meat business, won “an exclusive worldwide contract with Egypt to certify halal exports — as numerous other firms’ contracts were suddenly canceled in 2019,” NBC News reported.
Numerous sources told the publication that the U.S. Agriculture Department was suspicious over how the large contract was awarded to the company which had “little experience.”
Menendez’s wife is friends with the company’s owners, the report said, and the senator’s position as chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee puts him in charge of billions of dollars in weapons sales to Egypt.
In 2015, Menendez was indicted on bribery charges for allegedly accepting “luxury vacations, golf outings, campaign donations and expensive flights” from Florida physician Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors. A federal jury in Florida convicted Melgen in April of “67 charges for operating what prosecutors called a massive scheme that robbed Medicare out of as much as $105 million,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
Prosecutors began investigating Menendez when they were tipped off in 2012 that Menendez was allegedly having sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. The jury was split in the trial and a mistrial was declared.