NEW YORK (AP) — The defense for Sen. Bob Menendez rested Wednesday without the New Jersey Democrat testifying at his New York bribery trial.

Lawyers for Menendez called several witnesses over two days in an effort to counter seven weeks of testimony and hundreds of exhibits and communications introduced by Manhattan federal prosecutors.

Menendez, 70, maintains he is not guilty of charges that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold and cash from 2018 through 2022 in exchange for using his clout in the Senate to deliver favors to the benefit of three New Jersey businessmen.

Two of the businessmen — Fred Daibes and Wael Hana — are on trial with him. A third, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty to charges and testified against the trio during the trial.

Daibes and Hana also have pleaded not guilty and were given an opportunity to present a defense, though Judge Sidney H. Stein told jurors that the burden is on prosecutors and a defense was not required. Lawyers for Daibes rested at the same time as Menendez without presenting a defense. Hana’s lawyers were to start presenting their case.

Prosecutors took seven weeks to present their case before resting last Friday. They offered evidence to show that Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, served as a go-between most times to connect the senator and the businessmen.

Nadine Menendez, 57, who began dating the senator in 2018, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, but her trial has been postponed as she recovers from breast cancer surgery.

Lawyers for Bob Menendez have argued that his wife hid her financial troubles from him, including an inability to afford mortgage payments on her Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, home, along with many of her dealings with the businessmen. They’ve also said she inherited gold found in her bedroom during a 2022 FBI raid on their home.

An FBI agent testified earlier in the trial that he directed that more than $486,000 in cash and over $100,000 in gold bars be seized in the raid because he suspected that a crime may have occurred.

Among witnesses called by Menendez’s lawyers was his sister, Caridad Gonzalez, 80, who told the jury that members of her family routinely stored large amounts of cash at their homes after Menendez’s parents fled Cuba in 1951 with only the money they had hidden in the secret compartment of a grandfather clock.

“It’s normal. It’s a Cuban thing,” she said.

Bob Menendez was born after the family arrived in Manhattan.

Menendez has pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud, extortion, obstruction of justice and acting as a foreign agent of Egypt. After the charges were announced in September, he was forced out of his powerful post as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He has resisted calls to resign from the Senate and a month ago filed papers to run for reelection as an independent.

Prosecutors allege that Daibes delivered gold bars and cash to Menendez and his wife to get the senator’s help with a multimillion-dollar deal with a Qatari investment fund, prompting Menendez to act in ways favorable to Qatar’s government.

They also say Menendez did things benefiting Egyptian officials in exchange for bribes from Hana as the businessman secured a valuable deal with the Egyptian government to certify that imported meat met Islamic dietary requirements.

A previous corruption prosecution of Menendez on unrelated charges ended with a deadlocked jury in 2017.

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