Attorneys for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said prosecutors “actively distorted” evidence when searching the senator’s residence in connection to bribery allegations against him.
The New Jersey senator’s attorneys asked a Manhattan federal judge to toss out much of the evidence in a bribery case against him and claimed that it was illegally obtained, according to court documents reported by multiple outlets. The New York Times reported that the attorneys said the evidence was part of “exploratory rummaging,” noting that prosecutors “actively distorted the evidence.”
The lawyers also claimed that search warrants to seize Menendez’s personal belongings “were riddled with material misrepresentations and omissions,” according to The Associated Press (AP).
“Agents broke down doors (even, in some cases, where the doors were unlocked) and tore apart closets, wardrobes, dressers and other storage locations in the home, flipped over documents and rifled through file folders,” the lawyers wrote, according to the AP. “The FBI seized all manner of things, including the cash and gold bars that the government has made the centerpiece of its case.”
During the search of his home, prosecutors said FBI agents discovered $100,000 in gold bars and $480,000 in hidden cash, including most of it hidden in clothing and closets.
Menendez was indicted on bribery charges last fall that alleged he and his wife accepted more than $600,000 in bribes from a group of New Jersey businessmen on behalf of interests in Egypt. A superseding indictment in October later accused him of acting as a foreign agent of Egypt between June 2018 and June 2022.
He was also hit with a second superseding indictment earlier this month that accused him of accepting gifts for aiding a foreign government.
The Associated Press contributed.