Senator Menendez’s Wife Killed Man In Accident In 2018, Report


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The wife of indicted  Democrat New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez killed a pedestrian when she was the senator’s girlfriend, and she received a new Mercedes as a bribe afterward, prosecutors have alleged.

The news of the killing, and the new Mercedes that came a week after the 2018 accident in which the senator’s future wife, Nadine Menendez, was found to not be at fault was reported on Wednesday by The New York Times, and the news drove MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell into a frenzied attack against the couple.

The Times reported.

The crash that ensued just after 7:30 p.m. killed the man, Richard Koop, 49, almost instantly. His body was thrown to the curb just steps from his home and badly mangled, according to the Bergen County medical examiner.

After brief questioning, the police concluded that Ms. Menendez, who was alone in the vehicle, was “not at fault.” She was released without a summons.

What happened that night in the borough of Bogota outside New York City was not reported for years, leaving witnesses and Mr. Koop’s family to wonder if the fatal collision was deliberately kept quiet. But now, nearly five years later, the episode adds a startling dimension to a scandal that has shaken American politics, and raised new questions about the senator at its center.


The revelation helps fill in an important narrative gap around one of the most blatant bribes alleged in a 39-page federal indictment unveiled last month against Ms. Menendez, her powerful husband and three businessmen.

Prosecutors said in those charging papers that Ms. Menendez needed a car so badly after a December 2018 “accident” that the senator, a Democrat, was willing to try to suppress an unrelated criminal prosecution for a New Jersey businessman in exchange for a $60,000 Mercedes convertible. The fatal collision with Mr. Koop on Dec. 12 matches prosecutors’ terse description of the December 2018 crash.

The Times said that 911 calls, interviews with witnesses and an inquiry into the crash have raised concerns about the future Mrs. Menendez getting deferential treatment and that witnesses said the officers appeared to know who she was when they arrived at the scene of the accident.

Recordings show one man, who identified himself as a retired police officer, saying he came to the scene as a “favor” to a friend.

She was never tested for drugs or alcohol and was allowed to leave the scene just before the victim was declared dead at a nearby hospital.

“The family really has had serious concerns over what we felt was a very sparse, one-sided investigation,” the victim’s wife said. “Definitely a lack of legal enthusiasm to take this case, definite lack of media coverage, and a lack of communication by the authorities of Bergen County. We felt that the whole thing was very silently swept under the rug.”

“My understanding was this individual ran in front of her car, and she was not at fault,” her attorney David Schertler said as he called the incident a “tragic accident.”

“That was a tragic accident and obviously we think of the family,” Menendez said.

And that sentence is what made O’Donnell furious.

“He’s lying. They don’t think of the family. They have never communicated with the dead man’s family in any way. In December of 2018, Robert Menendez’s girlfriend, who was on her way to becoming his second wife, hit a pedestrian who was crossing the street at 7:30 p.m. and killed him. His name was Richard Koop. He was 49 years old,” the anchor said.


“The New York Times reports today, “His body was thrown to the curb just steps from his home and badly mangled… The police reports indicate she was never tested for drugs or alcohol, and was allowed to leave the scene, not long before Mr. Koop was declared dead at a nearby hospital.’ Richard Koop’s sister told the New York Times, ‘The family really has had serious concerns over what we felt was a very sparse, one-sided investigation… We felt that the whole thing was very silently swept under the rug,’” he said.

“The only problem Mrs. Menendez seemed to face after she killed someone was how to replace that damaged car. According to federal prosecutors, Robert Menendez and his wife took a bribe in the form of a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz C 300 convertible to replace the damaged car. The indictment of Robert Menendez and his wife contains a text message from her, saying, ‘All is GREAT! I’m so excited to get a car next week!’

“The indictment says she told the man who was bribing them that she would ‘never forget this,’” the anchor said.

“So, you’ve killed a man with a car, and you are so excited to get a car next week – not even slightly traumatized about driving, not in any way. And the thing you say you will never forget is the bribe that got you the car, not the man you killed.

“The indictment contains a text message that seemed creepy enough when all we knew it was describing was an alleged bribe. But now that we know that it is the reward Mrs. Menendez got after killing someone, it reads as sickeningly perverse. She wrote to New Jersey’s senior senator, ‘Congratulations mon amour de la vie, we are the proud owners of a 2019 Mercedes,’” he said.

“She got that car only because she killed someone with her previous car. And she calls herself a ‘proud owner’ of the new car. The bribe car.

“And while she’s at it, she congratulates her future husband – the senator – for taking what federal prosecutors call a bribe, for which they are now both criminal codefendants who have pleaded not guilty,” he said.

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