Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., will set up a legal defense fund to help pay for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees related to the federal criminal investigation into his dealings with foreign regulators, according to a new report.
Menendez’s office confirmed plans to create the fund to NBC News on Monday as the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York continues its months-long investigation into the senator. The investigation has already cost Menendez about $200,000 in campaign funds, according to filings obtained by NBC.
“Senator Menendez is confident that this official inquiry will be successfully closed, but since it remains unresolved he will open a separate legal defense fund to avoid draining any additional campaign funds,” said the Menendez spokeswoman at the exit. Fox News Digital reached out to Menendez’s office for further comment, but they did not immediately respond.
The investigation, which involves several federal organizations, is investigating the rich gifts Menendez’s wife received from a New Jersey food producer who obtained an exclusive contract with the Egyptian government to certify Halal food. -export food around the world.
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The inquiry considers whether Menendez may have improperly used his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to influence the deal. The committee controls about $2 billion in US aid to Egypt, according to NBC.
Menendez continues to deny all the allegations against him.
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Federal investigators opened the new investigation into Menendez in October, and have given no indication of how long it is expected to continue.
Menendez was previously indicted on federal bribery charges in 2016. That case related to a wealthy Florida eye doctor and longtime friend who made generous donations to Menedez and allegedly received benefits in return.
The Justice Department dropped those charges in 2018, however, and the new investigation appears unrelated to that case.