Nadine Menendez, the wife of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was involved in a car accident in December 2018 that killed a man, an incident for which she was not charged, but that is a part of the federal corruption indictment involving them and three New Jersey businessmen.
According to the indictment, Nadine Menendez was not married to the senator at the time and was known by her maiden name of Arslanian. They began dating in February 2018 and were married in October 2020.
The accident, according to multiple media reports, occurred at about 7:35 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2018. While Arslanian was driving a black Mercedes-Benz sedan on Main Street in Bogota, New Jersey, she struck Richard Koop, 49, in front of his home. Koop was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
"Ms. Arslanian was not at fault in this crash," according to the report from the Bogota Police Department, NorthJersey.com reported. "Mr. Koop was jaywalking and did not cross the street at an intersection or in a marked crosswalk."
The police records did not show that any field sobriety tests were done, NorthJersey.com reported. There also was no indication Arslanian was questioned about drinking or using any kind of drugs.
David Schertler, an attorney for Nadine Menendez, called the car crash a "tragic accident," but one that is unrelated to the charges she is facing.
"My understanding was this individual ran in front of her car, and she was not at fault," Schertler told The New York Times.
Politico reported Wednesday that municipal court records available online showed Nadine Menendez has a history of several traffic offenses, including using a hand-held phone while driving, failure to observe a traffic control device, and improper passing.
Arslanian's car was severely damaged after she hit Koop. According to the indictment, a month after the crash, she repeatedly texted Wael Hana, an Egyptian American businessman and one of the three co-defendants, about her lack of a car.
Prosecutors contend Bob Menendez agreed to call a senior prosecutor at the New Jersey attorney general's office in late January 2019 to try to pressure him to go easy on an associate of co-defendant Jose Uribe. Uribe would then agree to finance a car, a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible.
The indictment said Arslanian bought the car on April 5, 2019, using a $15,000 given to her by Uribe, who continued to make payments on the car through an associate's bank account or the account of a truck company owned by a relative of Uribe's.
Later that month, the indictment said Uribe's associate "resolved his criminal prosecution with a guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement" that recommended no prison time. "This resolution was more favorable for the New Jersey defendant than the prosecutors' initial plea offer earlier in the case," the indictment said.
The Menendezes and their three co-defendants — Hana, Uribe, and Fred Daibes — have each pleaded not guilty to charges filed by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. The trial is scheduled to start May 6 in Manhattan.
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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