Details of deadly car accident committed by Senator Menendez's wife come to light

    WORLD  05 October 2023 - 09:48

    A 2018 fatal car crash in Bogota, New Jersey, drew no media attention and resulted in no charges. The driver was the soon-to-be wife of Senator Robert Menendez.

    The New York Times revealed the details of a fatal car accident from five years ago in an investigation article published on October 4.

    According to the authors, the soon-to-be wife of Senator Robert Menendez, was zipping through the darkened streets of suburban New Jersey in a black Mercedes-Benz sedan. She would later tell the police she did not see the man stepping out in front of her to cross a busy thoroughfare.

    The crash that ensued just after 7:30 pm 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 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 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.

    Prosecutors said in those charging papers that 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 Koop on December 12 matches prosecutors’ terse description of the December 2018 crash.

    Interviews, police reports, dashcam footage, audio of 911 calls and other records reviewed by The New York Times also raise additional questions about the inquiry into the collision itself, which was reported earlier on October 4 by the Record of New Jersey. The questions include whether Menendez, a senator long accused of using the levers of government to help his friends, may have made an attempt to intervene.

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