New Jersey businessman cooperating with prosecutors testifies at Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial

NEW YORK — A New Jersey businessman who pleaded guilty in the bribery case against Sen. Bob Menendez began testifying Friday as the key witness in the month-old trial in Manhattan, telling a jury that another businessman mentioned the Democrat and his wife in 2018 as he told him that in return for $200,000 to $250,000, he would make his legal troubles go away.

Jose Uribe started testifying in Manhattan federal court, providing key testimony against Menendez and two other businessmen charged in a conspiracy along with Menendez’s wife.

Uribe, 57, was the star witness for the government in its bid to win a conviction against the senator, who once held the powerful post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was forced out of the position after charges were lodged against him last fall.

Menendez, 70, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted gold bars, cash and a luxury car in return for doing favors for the businessmen. The other businessmen and Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, also have pleaded not guilty. Nadine Menendez’s trial has been postponed until at least July after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Uribe testified that he was close friends with Wael Hana, who

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