At Sen. Bob Menendez’s bribery trial, prosecutors emphasized his wife’s financial distress. Or more concisely: Prosecutors emphasized the financial distress of Sen. Bob Menendez’s wife during the bribery trial. Avoiding words like ‘desperate’ keeps the sentence neutral and focuses on the facts presented in the trial.

In a bribery trial for Senator Bob Menendez, prosecutors presented evidence highlighting the financial struggles of his wife, Nadine Menendez, before New Jersey businessmen stepped in to help. The trial, which is ongoing, involves accusations that Menendez conspired with three businessmen and his wife in a bribery scheme that allegedly enriched the couple.

The evidence presented included hundreds of text messages, emails, and phone calls spanning over two days, testified by an FBI agent. Prosecutors aim to demonstrate that the senator’s relationship with Nadine Menendez, whom he began dating in early 2018 (then known as Nadine Arslanian), coincided with the bribery scheme.

According to prosecutors, Menendez used his position to help one businessman, Wael Hana, secure an exclusive contract with Egypt for certifying all U.S. meat exports to meet religious requirements. He also aided two other businessmen financially and helped them resolve favorable outcomes in criminal cases in New Jersey.

Text messages presented in court on Wednesday showed loving exchanges between Menendez and Nadine, with expressions of affection like kissing or heart emojis. Evidence also revealed that Nadine was in danger of losing her home in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, due to nearly $20,000 in missed mortgage payments in the summer of 2019. Wael Hana provided the funds to save the home, which Menendez later moved into after their marriage in 2020.

Prosecutors argue that the money provided by Hana was part of bribes the couple received in exchange for Menendez’s assistance. Defense lawyers, however, claim that Menendez was merely acting within the norms of political conduct and that the gold bars and large sums of cash found in a 2022 FBI raid on the home belonged to Nadine Menendez. They also assert that Menendez was unaware of his wife’s financial troubles and did nothing illegal.

In addition to bribery charges, Menendez is accused of acting as a foreign agent of Egypt. After his arrest, he was forced to relinquish his powerful position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Nadine Menendez’s trial was postponed until July after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The two other businessmen involved in the case have pleaded not guilty, while one has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to testify.