FACT CHECK: Robert Menendez Claims Money Seized By Feds Were From Personal Savings Account

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez claimed during a Sept. 25 press conference money seized by the Department of Justice was from his personal savings accounts.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

The indictment alleges that Menendez received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. The indictment also alleges that the DNA of one of the men accused of bribing Menendez was on envelopes and cash found in the senator’s home.

Fact Check:

Menendez, his wife and three others were indicted by the Department of Justice on bribery charges Sept. 22, according to NBC News. The New Jersey Democrat said during a Sept. 25 press conference that he would be exonerated of the charges, the outlet reported.

“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba. Now this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years,” Menendez said, according to Insider.

This claim, though, is disputed by the indictment. The indictment alleged that federal agents found $480,000 in Menendez’s home. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that the DNA of Fred Daibes, one of the businessmen who allegedly bribed Menendez, on envelopes that were discovered in Menendez’s home.

“Over $480,000 in cash—much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe—was discovered in the home, along with over $70,000 in NADINE MENENDEZ’s safe deposit box. Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of DAIBES or his driver,” reads the indictment.  (RELATED: Does Image Show LeBron James Wearing Pink To Go See The ‘Barbie’ Movie?)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a Sept. 22 press release that for the money, gold and “other things of value, MENENDEZ agreed to use his power and influence as a Senator to seek to protect HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES’s interests and to benefit the Government of Egypt.”

Menendez was born in the U.S. to Cuban immigrants, according to The New York Times. His father was a carpenter and his mother was a seamstress, the outlet reported.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment. Check Your Fact also reached out to a Menendez spokesperson for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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