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Menendez trial begins while Cuellar indictment flies under the radar

May 13

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Jury selection began in Sen. Bob Menendez’s, D-N.J., corruption trial on Monday, May 13. The former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee is accused of using his position to help three New Jersey businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar. 

Prosecutors said Menendez received more than $500,000 in cash and gold bars in exchange for facilitating an arms deal and pressuring state and local officials to go easy on friends. 

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However, there’s another congressional Democrat facing similar charges that has not received as much attention.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, is facing 14 charges including acting as a foreign agent, bribery of a federal official, wire fraud and money laundering. A guilty verdict could land him in prison for 20 years or more. 

The Justice Department stated Cuellar and his wife are accused of accepting approximately $600,000 in bribes from an oil and gas company owned by Azerbaijan and a bank in Mexico.

Cuellar denied the charges in a statement. 

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” Cuellar said. “Before I took any action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm. The actions I took in Congress were consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people.”

Straight Arrow News is working to obtain those opinions with the intent to publish them upon receipt.

According to Punchbowl News, the announcement of the indictment is leading to even more problems.

Political advisers have turned on Cuellar, and they are cooperating with the Justice Department. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee is pressuring Democrats who have received donations from Cuellar to return them. 

Cuellar’s super PAC, Texas First, has raised $150,000 this election cycle and gave some of that money to Democrats in swing districts including Reps. Jared Golden, Maine; Susie Lee, Nev.; and Marcy Kaptur, Ohio.

However, Cuellar and Menendez’s cases differ in one key way. So far only one member of Congress is calling for Cuellar to resign, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn. On the other hand, more than 30 Senate Democrats said Menendez should step down and multiple said Cuellar deserves his day in court like every other American. 

Cuellar said he will not resign. He stills plans to run for reelection in November and win.

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[RAY BOGAN]

Jury selection begins in Sen. Bob Menendez’s, D-N.J. corruption trial. The former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee is accused of using his position to help three New Jersey businessmen and the governments of Egypt and Qatar. 

Prosecutors said Menendez received more than $500,000 in cash and gold bars in exchange for facilitating an arms deal and pressuring state and local officials to go easy on friends. 

But there’s another Congressional Democrat facing similar charges that have not received as much attention. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, is facing 14 charges including acting as a foreign agent, bribery of a federal official, wire fraud and money laundering. A guilty verdict could land him in prison for 20 years or more. 

The Justice Department stated Cuellar and his wife are accused of accepting approximately $600,000 in bribes from an oil and gas company wholly owned by Azerbaijan and a bank in Mexico.

Cuellar denied the charges in a statement. 

[CUELLAR]

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” Cuellar said. “Before I took any action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm. The actions I took in Congress were consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people.

[RAY BOGAN]

SAN is working to obtain those opinions and will publish them if and when they’re received. 

According to Punchbowl News, the announcement of the indictment is leading to even more problems. Political advisers have turned on him and are cooperating with the justice department, and the National Republican Congressional Committee is pressuring Democrats who have received donations from Cuellar to return them. 

Cuellar’s Super PAC – Texas First, has raised $150,000 this election cycle and has given some of that money to Democrats in swing districts including 

Maine’s Jared Golden, Nevada’s Susie Lee and Ohio’s Marcy Kaptur. 

But here’s where Cuellar and Menendez’s case differ. So far only one member of Congress is calling for Cuellar to resign, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn. More than 30 Senate Democrats said Menendez should step down. In fact, multiple House Democrats have said Cuellar deserves his day in court like every other American. 

Cuellar said he will not resign, and will run for reelection this November and win.