Report of fatal New Jersey car crash fills in key gap in Menendez federal bribery investigation

FILE - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., right, and his...
FILE – Senate Overseas Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., proper, and his spouse Nadine Arslanian, pose for a photograph on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 20, 2022. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his spouse have been indicted on fees of bribery. Federal prosecutors on Friday introduced the costs in opposition to the 69-year-old Democrat almost six years after an earlier prison case in opposition to him ended with a deadlocked jury. (AP Picture/Susan Walsh, File)(AP)

BOGOTA, N.J. (AP) — The then-future spouse of highly effective U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Nadine Menendez, killed a person along with her automotive in December 2018 and was despatched from the scene with out being charged, in line with new particulars that match an auto “accident” that prosecutors cite of their sweeping federal indictment of the pair as a pivotal motivation for one of many senator’s alleged bribes.

Richard Koop, 49, was in entrance of his Bogota, New Jersey, dwelling when he was killed nearly immediately round 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2018, in line with particulars of a police investigation first reported Wednesday by The Report of New Jersey. Family members and associates of Koop advised The New York Instances that Koop had left a bar in a rideshare that dropped him off throughout the road from his condo.

A Bogota Police Division report mentioned Nadine Menendez, who wasn’t but married to the senator on the time and glided by Nadine Arslanian, “was not at fault on this crash. Mr. Koop was jaywalking and didn’t cross the road at an intersection or in a marked crosswalk.” There isn’t a proof within the file of her being screened for medication or alcohol.

A lawyer for Nadine Menendez, David Schertler, didn’t instantly reply to a message left Thursday by The Related Press. The AP additionally requested a spokesperson in Menendez’s workplace to move alongside a message requesting remark from her.

In dashcam video recorded on the scene, Nadine Menendez is heard asking officers why Koop was within the street. She tells police that she “didn’t do something incorrect.” In her police interview, she mentioned that Koop “ran throughout the roadway and jumped onto the hood” of her automotive. A spokesperson for the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Workplace mentioned Bogota police requested the county to assist with the investigation, however solely after the native officers had decided it was not a prison case.

“The household actually has had severe issues over what we felt was a really sparse, one-sided investigation,” Koop’s sister, Rosemarie Koop-Angelicola, advised the Instances. “We felt that the entire thing was very silently swept underneath the rug.” An individual who answered a cellphone at Koop-Angelicola’s dwelling Thursday advised the AP that she wouldn’t be granting additional interviews.

The car, a black Mercedes-Benz sedan, was left with a shattered windshield and a entrance finish that had been badly broken by hitting Koop and a close-by parked automotive, in line with the report.

She texted Wael Hana, one in every of three businessmen additionally indicted alongside the senator and his spouse within the alleged bribery scheme, a couple of month later concerning her lack of a car, in line with the federal indictment in New York.

Prosecutors mentioned that Nadine Menendez’s want of a automotive was so acute that the senator — who married her in October 2020 — acted to attempt to suppress an unrelated prison prosecution for a New Jersey businessman in trade for a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, which she signed papers for in April 2019.

The senator and his spouse are scheduled to stand trial beginning Might 6 on fees that they accepted bribes of money, gold bars and the automotive from the businessmen, who’re accused of searching for his assist with overseas affairs. Menendez, previously the chair of the Senate Overseas Relations Committee, is accused of passing data to Egyptian navy and intelligence officers.

Each have pleaded not responsible, as have the others charged within the case.

Menendez has remained in workplace regardless of calls from key Democrats for him to resign.

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