🔴 COVID test lab was paying Menendez's wife, prosecutors said

🔴 Nadine Menendez also had a "007 phone"

🔴 Menendez and his wife have pleaded not guilty to corruption charges


U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez tried to convince mayors throughout New Jersey to use a COVID-19 testing lab that was paying his wife, according to new federal court filings.

It's one of several new accusations against the 70-year-old Democrat that emerged in court documents filed in the Southern District Court of New York on Monday.

Federal prosecutors said Menendez made several phone calls to New Jersey mayors in late 2020 and early 2021.

He wanted them to authorize the use of a COVID-19 testing lab, authorities said. The lab and its CEO are not named in court filings.

FILE - Nadine Menendez, wife of Sen. Bob Menendez leaves federal court, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
FILE - Nadine Menendez, wife of Sen. Bob Menendez leaves federal court, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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At the same time, documents said the testing lab was making payments to Nadine Menendez — the senator's then-new wife.

Lab CEO disputes accusations

Court documents said that the lab CEO made a "self-serving" statement to federal authorities and said that Menendez had never made any calls on behalf of his lab.

The filings also said that a health official from one of the towns confirmed that the town's mayor had passed along a recommendation to use the testing lab. However, the health official said they never felt pressured to use the lab.

Nadine Menendez had a "007 phone"

According to court documents, Nadine Menendez had an alternate cell phone that her husband frequently called.

Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez leave federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez leave federal court, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
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The couple referred to it as her "007 phone" — a reference to James Bond.

Authorities said she used the phone to pass information about an ongoing criminal case involving an associate. Bob and Nadine Menendez conspired to intervene in the prosecution and "make things go away" in exchange for a Mercedes convertible, the documents said.

“Congratulations mon amour de la vie, we are the proud owners of a 2019 Mercedes,” Nadine Menendez later texted her husband.

The vehicle replaced another Mercedes after she struck and killed a pedestrian in Bogota on Dec. 18, 2018.

Nadine Arslanian Menendez speaks to police Dec. 12, 2018 (Bogota police/screengrab northjersey.com)
Nadine Arslanian Menendez speaks to police Dec. 12, 2018 (Bogota police/screengrab northjersey.com)
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The associate pleaded guilty in 2019. Their recommended sentence included no prison time.

Menendez maintains innocence

Sen. Menendez and his wife have pleaded not guilty to charges of accepting bribes including gold bars, cash, and a luxury car in exchange for doing favors on behalf of three businessmen. The businessmen have also pleaded not guilty.

Menendez is also accused of acting as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt. More recently, federal prosecutors said he introduced a New Jersey businessman to a member of the Qatari royal family.

Photo included in the indictment of Menendez (Townsquare Media illustration)
Photo included in the indictment of Menendez (Townsquare Media illustration)
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The senator stepped down from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after he was arrested in September but maintained his innocence.

He has also refused to resign despite calls from other prominent Democrats including Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ,

A judge in late December refused to move the date for a trial, which is currently set for May 5.

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