Nadine Menendez
Nadine and Bob Menendez X

Nadine Menendez, accused of being involved in a bribery scheme along with her husband, embattled Senator Bob Menendez, has stage 3 breast cancer, the senator said on Thursday.

"Nadine is suffering from Grade 3 breast cancer, which will require her to have mastectomy surgery. We are of course, concerned about the seriousness and advanced stage of the disease," said Menendez in a statement, which he said was issued as a result of numerous requests regarding his wife.

Nadine Menendez jumped to the forefront of the political conversation after being indicted along with Bob of bribery charges, specifically accused of using the senator's influence to benefit the governments of Egypt and Qatar in exchange for money and gifts.

Both had asked to hold separate trials, and Nadine's was postponed as a result of the previously undisclosed health issue. Menendez said his wife will need additional surgery and possibly radiation treatment.

"We ask the press and the public to give her the time, space and privacy to deal with this challenging health condition as she undergoes surgery and recovery," he added.

The disclosure comes during the first week of the trial against Bob Menendez, in which his defense blamed Nadine for gold bars that authorities found at their home and are central to the corruption accusation.

During their opening statements, Menendez's lawyers said that their client never took bribes or broke the law, and that he was unaware of any dealings that may have sought to use his influence to benefit the governments of Egypt or Qatar.

Prosecutors also focused on Nadine, saying that shortly after they began dating in 2018, she and a friend introduced Menendez to Egyptian intelligence and military officials, holding dinners at expensive restaurants and meetings in his office.

"Anytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen," she texted an Egyptian official who was seeking the senator's help of foreign policy matters, the prosecutors added.

The scheme had Nadine and her friend Wael Hana as intermediaries, passing along sensitive information to Egyptian officials in exchange for money and gifts. The information included the amount of people stationed at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and details about military aid to the country.

The senator had already anticipated he could blame his wife, saying he could present communications between them showing "ways in which she withheld information" asking or "otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place."

Both the senator and his wife have pleaded not guilty in the case. They have also been accused of attempting to obstruct the investigation.

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