Nadine Menendez Reveals ‘Serious Medical’ Issue and Asks for Trial Delay

Nadine Menendez, the wife of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, asked a judge on Tuesday to delay her trial on bribery charges because of what her lawyers described as a “serious medical condition” that will require surgery and an extended recovery period.

Ms. Menendez, 57, did not publicly disclose the nature of the medical issue but indicated that she received a recent diagnosis for a condition that will require surgery within four to six weeks and potentially significant follow-up treatment. Ms. Menendez’s lawyers, in a two-page letter to the judge, said they were providing further details in a separate submission that was filed under seal to protect Ms. Menendez’s privacy.

“Given her medical circumstances, Ms. Menendez is not able to assist her counsel in preparing for trial in the next four weeks,” her lawyers wrote to Judge Sidney H. Stein of Federal District Court in Manhattan. The trial of Ms. Menendez, her husband and two New Jersey businessmen is scheduled to start on May 6, but her lawyers said she would not be in “physical or psychological condition” to participate.

The judge could grant a delay to Ms. Menendez but order the senator and the businessmen to go to trial as planned next month. The Menendezes have each asked the judge for separate trials, a request the judge has yet to rule on.

Ms. Menendez’s request for a delay adds to an already complicated array of legal issues to be decided before the couple stands trial on what prosecutors have described as a wide-ranging international bribery conspiracy. They are charged with accepting cash, gold bars and a luxury convertible in exchange for the senator’s willingness to use his political influence at home and on behalf of the governments of Egypt and Qatar. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty.

On Friday, Ms. Menendez’s lawyers asked to be removed from the case for an undisclosed reason. Prosecutors had indicated that they were likely to call her lawyers to testify at the trial in an apparent effort to prove that Ms. Menendez obstructed justice during the government’s investigation. Judge Stein had made it clear that Ms. Menendez’s lawyers would not be permitted to both defend her and to testify, and he had encouraged the parties to try to reach a compromise. The judge has not yet acted on the lawyers’ request to withdraw from the case.

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