The New Jersey Senator has been formally charged
Bob Menendez AFP

Embattled Senator Bob Menendez might blame his wife, Nadine, in the bribery case they both face for trading political influence.

Unsealed court documents show that the senator's lawyers said he might testify about communications between the marriage which could show "ways in which she withheld information" or "otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place."

Both Bob and Nadine Menendez have been indicted for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars and a luxury car to, among other things, benefit the Egyptian government and protect a group of New Jersey businessmen. The conduct includes seeking more lenient rulings in criminal investigation.

One of those businessmen, Jose Uribe, entered a plea agreement in the case in early March. Uribe, who faced seven charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion, was also accused of giving Nadine Menendez a Mercedez-Benz.

They were later accused to conspire to act as foreign agents of the country and also accept expensive gifts in exchange for making positive comments about Qatar, as well as attempting to block the investigation into their conduct.

Menendez had already asked for his and his wife's trials to be conducted separately as he intended to "present a defense arguing (in part) that he lacked the requisite knowledge of much of the conduct and statements of his wife."

The request was granted as Nadine is also facing a series of health issues that, her lawyers say, requires surgery and "possibly significant recovery time." The senator's trial is set to begin on May 6, while his wife's has been delayed until July 8. Both have pleaded guilty to all charges.

Menendez faced numerous calls to resign but has refused to do so. Instead, he announced that he won't seek reelection as a Democrat and will do as an independent if cleared of his charges by the summer.

However, a recent poll shows that his decades-long standing in local and national politics might not help him retain his seat.

The survey, conducted by Emerson College Polling/PIX11/The Hill, showed Menendez with a meager 9 percent support in the general election, compared to 49 percent for the Democratic candidate and 42 percent for the Republican one.

Representative Andy Kim is cruising to be the Democratic candidate, with over 50 percent of support and a large lead over all other contenders.

Same as the Democratic party, voters seem to have soured on Menendez following the accusations against him. The poll shows him with a 14 percent job approval among New Jersey voters, compared to 62 percent who disapprove of him.

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