Senator Bob Menendez
Bob Menendez's trial is set to begin on May 6 Reuters

The trial against embattled senator Bob Menendez is set to begin on May 13. He faces a series of charges revolving around taking bribes in exchange for political favors.

The latest development on the case has to do with a request by Menendez to have a psychiatrist testify about his habit of stockpiling cash, as authorities found almost half a million dollars in envelopes and coats, as well as 13 gold bars worth more than $100,000 in his house. They also found almost $80,000 from his wife Nadine's safety deposit box in a nearby bank.

Rather than the money coming from bribes, Menendez said, he withdrew thousands of dollars each month over the years to have them at hand in case of emergencies. This, he added, has to do with past experiences from his family in Cuba.

In a letter reported by CBS News, he said that "two significant traumatic events" led him to act this way and a psychiatrist who evaluated him could confirm he suffered "intergenerational trauma stemming from his family's experience as refugees, who had their funds confiscated by the Cuban government and were left with only a small amount of cash that they had stashed away in their home."

The psychiatrist can also be expected to testify that Menendez experienced another traumatic episode when "his father, a compulsive gambler, died by suicide after Senator Menendez eventually decided to discontinue paying off his father's gambling debts."

His lawyers added in the letter that the lack of treatment "resulted in a fear of scarcity for the senator and the development of a longstanding coping mechanism of routinely withdrawing and storing cash in his home."

Prosecutors, in turn, have requested the psychiatrist's testimony be rejected. They say the conclusion "does not appear to be the product of any reliable scientific principle or method" and only seeks to gain sympathy from the jury. If she is indeed allowed to take the stand, another psychiatrist should also evaluate Menendez, they added.

Menendez faces an array of charges alleging that he and his wife Nadine accepted bribes in the form of cash, gold bars and even a luxury car, to help and protect three local businessmen and benefit the governments of Qatar and Egypt. They have also been accused of obstructing the investigation in the case. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Menendez recently asked the trials against him and Nadine be held separately. Court documents show he might blame her, with 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."

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."

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.

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