Menendez Jurors See the Gold Bars at the Heart of a Bribery Case

With the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey underway on Thursday, a prosecutor handed a juror in the first row of the jury box a plastic bag containing an object at the heart of the government’s case: a gold bar that glinted under the courtroom lights.

One by one, jurors held the bag, turning it over in their hands and feeling its weight before passing it to their neighbor — the jury’s first tangible exposure to evidence prosecutors say was a bribe paid to Mr. Menendez, 70, and his wife.

The prosecutor, Lara Pomerantz, soon handed jurors another bag containing several gold bars. But before she could hand over a third, the judge, Sidney H. Stein, said the jury “has now gotten a feel for the weight of gold.”

Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, have been charged with accepting gifts collectively worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including gold, cash and a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz convertible, in exchange for the senator’s dispensing of political favors to the governments of Egypt and Qatar and to three New Jersey businessmen.

The senator and two of the businessmen — Wael Hana and Fred Daibes — are being tried together in Manhattan federal court. Ms. Menendez, 57, was to be tried with them, but her trial was postponed after her lawyers said she had a “serious medical condition.”

On Thursday, the senator revealed that Ms. Menendez was being treated for breast cancer and was preparing to undergo a mastectomy and possible radiation treatment.

Who Are Key Players in the Menendez Case?

Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, are accused of taking part in a wide-ranging, international bribery scheme that lasted five years. Take a closer look at central figures related to the case.

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