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Trump VP contenders, senators headline Menendez trial potential witness list

Several sitting U.S. senators — including a couple rumored to be in consideration for the GOP vice presidential nod — are among a lengthy list of prominent individuals who could be called as witnesses in the ongoing corruption trial of Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez, potential jurors were told on Tuesday.

Jury selection in the trial carried into its second day without any jurors being chosen, but U.S. Judge Sidney H. Stein told potential jurors that several current and former lawmakers and White House officials may or may not be witnesses in the case. He spent most of Monday questioning the prospective jurors.

“You may see them or hear their names, and I want to know if you have a connection with any of these people,” Stein said. 

The list included: David Axelrod, former political strategist for former President Barack Obama; Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia; former Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; former Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin; former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Sen. Kristen Sinema, I-Ariz.; and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland. 

Once jurors are chosen, the case will proceed to opening arguments. 

US V. MENENDEZ: DEM SENATOR’S CORRUPTION TRIAL KICKS OFF WITH SURPRISING DELAY

Menendez at Senate finance hearing

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., faces federal corruption charges. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Jurors will be expected to determine whether evidence against Menendez and two New Jersey businessmen, Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, shows they were part of a bribery scheme, including meddling in criminal investigations and taking actions benefiting the governments of Egypt and Qatar. 

All three have pleaded not guilty. Co-defendant Jose Uribe has pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the other defendants. A trial for the senator’s wife, Nadine, who is also charged and has also pleaded not guilty, is delayed until at least July due to health reasons. 

This is the second time in a decade that Menendez has been accused in a federal corruption case. 

BOB MENENDEZ’S CORRUPTION CASE CO-DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY TO 7 COUNTS, COOPERATING WITH INVESTIGATORS

Menendez in Capitol hallway with distressed look on his face

For the second time in a decade, Menendez is finding his career and life on the line in a federal criminal case that has already forced him out of one of the Senate’s most powerful posts.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Menendez was charged by federal prosecutors with obstruction of justice in another superseding indictment unsealed in March relating to a multiyear alleged bribery scheme involving the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

The 18-page indictment is wrapped into Menendez’s existing charges, which allege that he acted as a foreign agent and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to benefit the Egyptian government through his power and influence as a senator.

DEMOCRAT SEN BOB MENENDEZ FACING INDICTMENT ON BRIBERY CHARGES

Wael Hana, center, leaves the federal courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023.

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Menendez, his wife and the three New Jersey businessmen were first charged in the federal bribery scheme on Sept. 23.


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