Democratic Lawmaker Indicted Alongside His Wife

( – The Department of Justice indicted Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) and his wife, Nadine Menendez, for an alleged bribery scheme involving foreign influence. The two have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Federal officials have now indicted another Democratic lawmaker.

Texas Congressman Indicted

On May 3, an indictment against Rep. Enrique “Henry” Cuellar and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, was unsealed in the Southern District of Texas. According to a press release, the lawmaker and his wife allegedly participated in two unlawful foreign influence scams, money laundering, and bribery.

Court documents alleged that from December 2014 through November 2021, the Cuellars accepted bribes totaling $600,000 from a bank headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico, and a gas and oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government. After receiving the bribes, prosecutors have accused the congressman and his wife of laundering the money through fake consulting contracts and “a series of front companies and middlemen into shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar.” Prosecutors say Mrs. Cuellar essentially provided no work under the contracts.

Rep. Cuellar is accused of using his office to influence US foreign policy to benefit the government of Azerbaijan. Additionally, the DOJ claimed the lawmaker told the Mexican government that he would pressure high-ranking officials in the Executive branch and influence Congress regarding policies that would benefit the bank.

The congressman and his wife are both charged with multiple felony counts of bribery of a federal official, which carries a maximum of 15 years in prison for each count. They are also charged with conspiracy to have an officials act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a max of five years in prison. The government charged them with wire fraud and multiple other crimes. In total, they are facing upwards of 200 years in federal prison.

The indictment claims the congressman and his wife used the money to pay for family expenses, debt, and other personal expenses. They allegedly used $7,000 for a down payment on a new car and a $12,000 gown.

Congressman Responds to Indictment

Hours after the indictment was unsealed, the Democratic congressman released a statement declaring his and his wife’s innocence. He claimed that every action he has taken has been to “serve the people of South Texas.” Cuellar went on to say he reached out to the House Ethics Committee for legal advice and received multiple written opinions and an opinion from a prominent law firm.

Cuellar said he devoted his life to serving the people of Texas, “creating jobs here, improving education, and securing our border,” and he intends to run for reelection.

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