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Sen. Bob Menendez accused of obstructing justice in rewritten indictment

New charges allege senator and his wife were trying to obstruct justice in weeks before they were charged last September with a variety of crimes NEW YORK — U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife face new obstruction-of-justice charges in an expanded indictment accusing them of accepting bribes of gold bars, cash and a luxury car from three New Jersey businessmen.

The charges were in a rewritten indictment returned against the Democrat in Manhattan federal court.

Conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction-of-justice charges were added against Menendez and his wife, Nadine. The senator responded to the updated indictment by calling the additions “a flagrant abuse of power.”

He said the government “has long known that I learned of and helped repay loans — not bribes — that had been provided to my wife.”

He added: “I am innocent and will prove it no matter how many charges they continue to pile on.”

An indictment already alleges that the couple conspired with three businessmen to accept the bribes in return for the senator’s help with their projects. Both have pleaded not guilty, along with two of the businessmen. A May trial has been scheduled.

One businessman pleaded guilty to charges last week and agreed to testify at trial against the others.

After his fall arrest, Menendez, 70, was forced to relinquish his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but said he would not resign from Congress.

According to an indictment, Menendez and his wife accepted gold bars and cash from a real-estate developer in return for the senator using his clout to get that businessman a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund.

Menendez also was charged with helping another New Jersey business associate get a lucrative deal with the government of Egypt.