Bob Menendez was indicted for the second time in 10 years. How the new case compares to 2015
Marc Scholl, a former prosecutor in New York who is now counsel to the firm Lewis Baach Kaufmann & Middlemiss, said that whether the government will fare better this time depends entirely on what the government can prove.
“Unlike in the last case, here, the government is alleging substantial payments made to Menendez and his wife in the form of cash, gold bars, and other direct gifts, such as a luxury car, by three businessmen," Scholl said. "Further, the government is alleging that it has better proof of direct things that Menendez and his wife did for those who paid them."
Scholl pointed to one example in the latest indictment which alleged that Will Hana - one of the three businessmen - promised to put Menendez's partner on his company's payroll if Menendez helped the businessman facilitate lucrative financial transactions for him with Egypt, which he followed through with.
“The earlier case proved Menendez got limited stuff and that political contributions were made. But there was scant proof, it seems, that whatever Menendez did over the years for the eye doctor friend was because of the (political) contributions and gifts,” Scholl said. “Here, if the indictment can be proved, the evidence of getting stuff for doing stuff is far more brazen, direct, and clear."
Scholl also noted that if the businessmen were indeed paying Menendez and his wife for doing them 'favors' then that is not constituent services, but criminal activity.
"Constituent services generally includes helping constituents cut through government bureaucratic red tape and be aware of government programs that could help them," Scholl said. "And it might include helping them make the government be aware of the constituents' achievements. But these are things the elected official is supposed to do for the constituent without asking for or receiving personal payment of gifts or contributions."