BOGOTA, N.J. — The New Jersey attorney general’s office is looking into the handling of a deadly 2018 car crash involving Sen. Bob Menendez’s wife.
A source with knowledge of the review confirmed the development to CBS New York on Friday.
It happened the night of Dec.12, 2018.
Nadine Menendez, Sen. Menendez’s now-wife and then-girlfriend, was driving through Bogota when she struck and killed a 49-year-old man who was jaywalking. Now, the attorney general’s office is looking into whether police and prosecutors handled that properly.
In dash camera video from the night of the crash, Nadine Menendez claimed 49-year-old Richard Koop jumped onto her windshield.
“Why was the guy in the middle of the street?” Nadine Menendez can be heard saying.
“Well, that’s what were trying to figure out. Our job is to investigate everything that happens. That’s what we’re trying to do. Obviously, the more information…” an officer says.
“–do anything wrong,” Nadine Menendez says.
“No, no, no,” the officer says.
Now, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability is reviewing records from police and prosecutors.
Watch Tim McNicholas’s report
The New York Times reports Nadine Menendez was not tested for drugs and alcohol because police did not have probable cause. It’s not clear if her cellphone records were ever subpoenaed.
“Before you go, I just wanna confirm that you do not wanna give me your phone, correct?” the officer says in the dash cam video.
“Yeah,” Nadine Menendez says.
“OK,” the officer says.
Friday, former NYPD deputy commissioner John Miller said, “One of the things that is central here is about whether or not they should have been able to get her phone at the scene and figure out if that played a factor in the accident.”
Miller says the phone records could answer important questions.
“Was she using the phone at the time of the accident — texting, looking at something on the screen, talking to someone?” Miller said. “Did she use that phone to call anyone else, up to including her boyfriend at the time, Senator Menendez, to ask what to do?”
Police eventually did let Nadine Menendez go, and prosecutors never charged her for the crash, but the crash is mentioned in a federal indictment charging Nadine and Robert Menendez with bribery.
Prosecutors say the crash left Nadine Menendez without a car, and a New Jersey businessman named Jose Uribe gave her $15,000 for a down payment on a Mercedes. Investigators say that was a bribe for Robert Menendez calling a prosecutor and trying to influence an unrelated case against one of Uribe’s associates.
“And that’s your statement — you were driving this way, the guy came from this way, and he ran into your vehicle?” an officer asks in the dash cam video.
“He jumped onto my windshield,” Nadine Menendez said.
Nadine Menendez’s attorney sent CBS New York the following statement Friday:
“This is a case of a tragic accident, but Nadine Menendez was not at fault, did not violate any laws, and was therefore not charged with any crimes. We are confident that any “re-opening” of an investigation into the accident will confirm that conclusion. The fact of the accident has nothing to do with the allegations in the current indictment against Ms. Menendez.”
We’ll be following up on this one.
Both Nadine and Robert Menendez, along with three co-defendants, have pleaded not guilty in that federal bribery case, which would likely go to trial in 2024.