Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s wife Nadine Menendez allegedly received special treatment after killing a man in a car crash in December 2018, according to The New York Times.
Menendez’s wife allegedly killed a 49-year-old man named Richard Koop while driving her black Mercedes at night, according to the NYT. Officials ruled her not to be culpable in the incident and promptly let her free; there is speculation about whether Menendez tried to interfere on his wife’s behalf. (RELATED: Bob Menendez’s Approval Rating Drops To Single Digits Following Bribery Indictment: POLL)
A witness asserted the police officers questioning Menendez’s wife seemed to be aware of who she was and gave her preferential treatment as a result, according to the NYT. The police reports suggest authorities did not test Menendez’s wife for drugs or alcohol.
“It is determined that at this time [she] was not at fault for the motor vehicle crash and that Mr. Koop was jaywalking,” the Bogota Police Department sergeant reported the following day, according to the NYT.
The Menendezes allegedly never reached out to Koop’s family and local authorities barely did, according to the NYT. “The family really has had serious concerns over what we felt was a very sparse, one-sided investigation,” Koop’s sister Rosemarie Koop-Angelicola told the NYT. “Definitely a lack of legal enthusiasm to take this case, definite lack of media coverage, and a lack of communication by the authorities of Bergen County. We felt that the whole thing was very silently swept under the rug.”
Menendez and his wife are both accused of accepting bribes and both have pled not guilty. They allegedly accepted a Mercedes-Benz valued at over $60,000 as a bribe in 2019 after the car she was driving experienced damage in the crash, which “left her without a car,” according to the indictment against them.
The alleged bribe was from a New Jersey businessman Jose Uribe and an Egyptian friend Wael Hana, in exchange for Menendez helping with Uribe’s associates’ legal matter, according to the NYT.
Menendez is alleged to have used his status to “disrupt a criminal case undertaken by the New Jersey Attorney General’s (AG) Office related to associates of Uribe,” according to the indictment press release. Menendez allegedly called the New Jersey AG’s office and attempted to coerce him into taking it easy on Uribe’s associate, according to the NYT.
“My understanding was this individual ran in front of her car, and she was not at fault,” Menendez’s wife’s lawyer David Schertler told the NYT. He said the collision is unrelated to the bribery charges.
Menendez’s wife allegedly hit a parked car after hitting Koop, according to a police incident report. “We always wondered what actually happened that horrible night. So much was left unanswered,” Koop’s ex-wife Danielle DeBouter told the NYT. “I don’t know if we will ever know the truth.”
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Bogota Police Department, Menendez’s press office and Schertler did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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