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Sen. Bob Menendez could blame wife in bribery trial, unsealed court documents say

Sen. Menendez won't run in Democratic primary
Sen. Bob Menendez won't run in New Jersey Democratic primary 00:48

Washington — Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, could incriminate his wife when he heads to trial next month to fight charges that he traded his political influence for cash, gold bars and a luxury Mercedes, according to newly unsealed court documents. 

A legal brief from Menendez's lawyers said the senator might testify about communications with his wife that will demonstrate "the ways in which she withheld information" from her husband "or otherwise led him to believe that nothing unlawful was taking place." 

The disclosure about Menendez's possible defense strategy, which had been redacted, was unsealed by a federal judge at the request of several news organizations, including CBS News. 

Menendez was indicted in September on charges alleging he and his wife, Nadine, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes while using his power and influence to enrich and protect three New Jersey businessmen and benefit the government of Egypt. 

Later, a superseding indictment alleged Menendez and his wife conspired to act as a foreign agent for Egypt and accepted expensive gifts in exchange for favorable comments about Qatar. The latest indictment unsealed in March accused the duo of obstructing the investigation into the alleged yearslong corruption scheme. 

Menendez and his wife have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. 

The New Jersey senator's trial is scheduled to begin in early May, while Nadine Menendez is set to be tried separately. The federal judge delayed her trial until at least July while she undergoes surgery to treat a medical condition. 

According to her lawyers, Nadine Menendez is suffering from a "serious medical condition that will require a surgical procedure." They said the surgery would take place within weeks, and she might need "possibly significant follow-up and recovery treatment." 

Erica Brown and Pat Milton contributed reporting. 

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