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Bob Menendez and Hunter Biden are facing similar claims of illegal actions. But DOJ only has eyes for one man

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Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was in court this week for another superseding indictment brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Rather than the four original counts, he now faces 18 counts with his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, and alleged co-conspirators Wael Hana and Fred Daibes.

What is most notable is not the proliferation of counts but the lack of comparative charges in the pending case against Hunter Biden. Some of us have long raised concerns over the striking similarity in the alleged conduct in both cases, but the absence of similar charges against the president’s son. That contrast just got even greater.

The allegations in the two cases draw obvious comparisons.

Menendez is accused of accepting a 60,000 Mercedes-Benz as part of the corrupt practices. In Hunter’s case, it was a $142,000 Fisker sports car.  For Menendez, there were gold bars worth up to $120,000. For Biden, there was the diamond allegedly worth $80,000.

Underlying both cases are core allegations of influence peddling and corruption. However, the Justice Department threw the book at Menendez while minimizing the charges against Biden. 

That includes charging Menendez as an unregistered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Many of us have said for years that the treatment of Hunter under FARA departs significantly from the treatment of various Trump figures like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort as well as Menendez.

Now, there is a new layer of troubling comparisons to be drawn in the two cases. 

The superseding indictment incorporates new charges after the plea and cooperation of Menendez’s former co-defendant and businessman Jose Uribe. 

Uribe appears to have supplied the basis for some of the new charges, including a telling account with Nadine Menendez. She allegedly asked Uribe what he would say to law enforcement about the payments used for a Mercedes-Benz convertible and Uribe said that he could say that the payment were a ‘loan.’  Nadine Menendez responded that ‘sounded good.’

The loan discussion hit a familiar cord with those of us who have written about the Biden corruption scandal. The Bidens have repeatedly referred to payment from foreign sources as ‘loans.’ That most notoriously included millions given by his counsel Kevin Morris. 

In some cases, foreign money was received by President Joe Biden’s brother James and then immediately sent to the president’s personal account marked as a loan repayment. James admitted that the $40,000 was coming from the Chinese.

The Justice Department in the Menendez case dismissed the claim of loans as merely a transparent effort to hide influence peddling. That includes not just the convertible payment but  more than $23,000 that one businessman made toward the senator’s wife’s mortgage. 

Menendez and Biden share the array of luxury gifts, cars, and loans. However, the most important common denominator was the underlying corruption. Both cases are classic examples of influence peddling, which has long been a cottage industry in Washington, D.C.

What they do not share is the same level of prosecution or press support. Menendez is a pariah in Washington and Hunter is the president’s son. 

Menendez is blamed by many inside the Beltway not for being corrupt but for being open about it. 

The fact that others have been prosecuted for conduct similar to his own has not stopped Hunter from claiming victim status. He has told courts that even the few charges brought against him are evidence of selective prosecution.

In the most recent filing, Special Counsel David Weiss dismissed many of Hunter’s claims as ‘patently false’ and noted that Hunter Biden virtually flaunted his violations and engaged in obvious efforts to evade taxes and hide his crimes. 

Weiss further noted that other defendants did not write ‘a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.’

It was a devastating take-down of Hunter’s claims, but it did not address the conspicuous omission of charges brought against Menendez, including FARA charges.

It also does not address the fact that the Justice Department not only allowed the statute of limitations to run on major crimes, but sought to finalize an obscene plea agreement with no jail time for Hunter. It only fell apart when a judge decided to ask a couple of cursory questions of the prosecutor, who admitted that he had never seen an agreement this generous for a defendant.

Weiss noted in his filing that they filed new crimes only after Hunter’s legal counsel refused to change the agreement and insisted that it remained fully enforceable.

As Hunter continues to claim to be the victim of selective prosecution in various courts, judges need only to look over the Menendez case to see the truth of the matter. Hunter is not the victim of selective prosecution but the beneficiary of special treatment in the legal system.

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