Senator Menendez Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty, Now Cooperating With Feds

In a significant new development in the shocking prosecution of sitting U.S. senator, insurance broker Jose Uribe, a known associate of his co-defendant Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), has admitted to a range of federal charges. As part of the plea deal brokered between prosecutors and Uribe, he has agreed to testify at trial against Mendendez.

Uribe’s plea agreement, submitted on Thursday in a Manhattan federal court, unveils a set of facts that will be extremely difficult for Mendendez to defend at trial. Uribe’s indictment alleges he initiated a bribery scheme to obtain Sen. Menendez’s political influence for his personal gain. Uribe now admits that he gave Nadine Menendez, the senator’s wife, a high-end Mercedes-Benz in exchange for the senator’s intervention in a criminal investigation against him.

The deal with Uribe goes to the core of the case against Menendez and his wife. Pursuant to his plea agreement, Uribe is admitting to the truth of the allegation that he paid for and provided Nadine’s Mercedes “in a manner to conceal my involvement.”

Furthermore, Uribe’s involvement extended beyond bribery to tax evasion and obstruction of justice. By forming Nominee Companies and failing to report income, Uribe manipulated the system for financial benefit. His obstruction of justice, characterized by misleading statements to the U.S. Attorney’s office, attempted to derail the federal investigation, showcasing a blatant disregard for legal integrity.

Despite the swirling accusations, Sen. Menendez has not stepped down from his senatorial duties but did relinquish his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The senator has a sordid history of allegations of official misconduct in his past, although he has always denied wrongdoing and has escaped true accountability — so far.

Uribe’s cooperation with investigators could unravel further details, and the Mendendez team is now working furiously to develop some strategy to cross-examine him before a federal jury. Uribe’s sentencing has been set for June 14, after he will have testified at Sen. Mendendez’s trial is scheduled to begin May 6.