The Mattress Defense: How Robert Menendez May Be Putting his Money on a Hung Jury . . .Again

Below is my column on the Menendez indictment and the curious “Mattress Defense” put forward by the senator. For most people, it seems like a defense that is unlikely to win over a jury, but that may not be the purpose. Menendez may be trying to replicate his “win” six years ago by securing not an acquittal but a hung jury.

Here is the column:

In his defense of bribery allegations, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) argues he’s just your tio loco, who doesn’t trust banks and prefers a Serta Perfect to Morgan Stanley to hold his money.

Call it the “mattress defense.”

Wads of cash and gold bars were found in the Menendez home.

But the senator insisted that he was just being an “old-fashioned” Cuban who feared that the government could confiscate his property at any moment.

It’s a curious defense.

He is claiming that he has been squirreling away money for years as a hedge against an authoritarian crackdown — of which his Democratic Party is in control, and he is one of its most senior senators.

So he’s worried President Biden is going to grab his gold bars?

It is hardly a roaring endorsement of our system.

Menendez declared: “For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba. Now this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account.”

Menendez was born in the United States to Cuban immigrants who fled the island in 1953.

What is striking is that Menendez locked in this defense within a week of the indictment.

There is no walking back, since this press conference can be admitted as evidence at trial.

It is an explanation that is highly unlikely to convince a jury as a whole.

There is evidence, from fingerprints to DNA, connecting the senator and his wife, Nadine, to money handed over by co-conspirators.

There are also damning emails and messages.

In one such message in March 2020, Nadine allegedly told an Egyptian official, “Anytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen.”

That is what is so telling about Menendez’s press conference.

It is a defense that seems crafted not for acquittal but a hung jury.

Six years ago, he was saved by a hung jury in a prior bribery trial.

This could be a pitch for the same result.

He just needs to connect with one juror to survive to grift another day.

It may be working. In the chatter that followed in New Jersey, some quickly affirmed that this was a “Cuban thing.”

One voter in Union City told CBS News, “The part about the money I do understand because as a Cuban we are used to putting … we don’t trust the government. We came from a very dark place in Cuba under a terrible regime.”

Of course, no one knows the “dark places” as much as Bob Menendez.

Meanwhile, the suggestion of a resignation is unlikely to appeal to Menendez.

Why give up the leverage of a seat in a closely divided Senate?

With various Democrats calling for his resignation, Menendez is hardly being subtle about the threat he could pose.

He could run as a third-party candidate and potentially lose a seat that the Democrats have long treated as a guaranteed win.

In the meantime, he continues to draw a large salary and can use Senate business to argue for delays and accommodations in the court proceedings.

In his press conference, Menendez promised to stay his course “despite the naysayers and everyone who has underestimated me.”

It is certainly never good to underestimate Bob Menendez when it comes to the “dark places” of American politics.


269 thoughts on “The Mattress Defense: How Robert Menendez May Be Putting his Money on a Hung Jury . . .Again”

  1. Jonathan: Tu eres loco, tio Jonathan–excuse the absence of accent marks). Menendez is yesterday’s news. This is your second column beating a dead horse. The Dems consider Menendez toxic because corruption in office needs to be prosecuted regardless of party affiliation. In contrast, George Santos is the poster child for corruption and criminality. But he is a MAGA Republican and is being embraced by McCarthy and the GOP House. How many columns have you spent discussing Santos’ indictments and why the GOP House refuses to address it? Nada. You rather take time to testify before Jim Comer’s inquiry into the alleged “corruption” of Joe Biden. That why we say in Spanish: ” Ignoramos lo que no queremos ver”.

    1. “Ignoramos lo que no queremos ver” [We ignore what we do not want to see.]

      Dennis, that describes you perfectly.

      Speaking about ignoring, though you claim to be forthright, you never answered my previous replies. You ignore what you do not want to see.

  2. Geez the discussion on this blog gets worse by the day. It seems to have deteriorated quite quickly just recently. Thank you, Turley, for persisting.

    That Menendez beat the law in his first go around just exemplifies what many of us decry here. We are so polarized as a country, and have been for quite a long time, that the elite and political class can shop around for the right judge and/or the right jury to get any result they desire. This hardly looks like justice. It is politics. For we citizens it just more and more resembles a staged event. I am actually more concerned about innocent people being railroaded than a complete bum like Menendez getting off.

    I’ve been called to jury duty a number of times, I forget how many, but I am never chosen for a jury. I get questioned by one attorney or another, and as soon as they get a wiff of my education or work experience…off the jury I go. Being tried by a jury of peers is a farce. It’s actually a heavily filtered jury of peers.

  3. The “mattress defense” is not wholly crazy. “Progressive” Democrats have recently introduced a law to tax accumulated wealth. https://www.heritage .org/taxes /commentary/democrats-proposed-wealth-tax-spells-doom-entrepreneurs-and-economic-growth When that is eventually enacted, everyone will be hiding money in mattresses, or in refrigerators (Rep. Jefferson), or in the ceiling (former Detroit Police Commissioner).

  4. James Carville rips far-left Democrats on Bill Maher podcast: ‘Most stupid, naive people you can imagine’
    “I find the left to be just annoying,” Carville told Maher. “The western far left is habitually the most stupid, naive people you can imagine. They come up with these really goofy constructs and it’s all about feeling good about yourself.”

    Maher agreed and criticized progressives for demanding society cater to their feelings. “If your feelings are hurt, that’s more important than free speech,” he argued.

    These are what traditional Democrats think of our woke leftists friends who pollute the good professor’s blog everyday.
    They think you are stupid!
    And we agree!

    1. Oh, but no. That is not my voice you are hearing. That is the voice of sane Democrats like Bill Maher, James Carville, Elon Musk, and of course the good professor. As I have pointed out more than a few times, the good professor writes his columns pointing out how the insane woke leftists have hijacked the Democrat party.
      Maher has been pointing it out as well for quite some time now. And Carville now agrees.
      They think you are stupid!
      And we, by “we” I am referring to all the other sane Democrats and all the other sane voters and all the sane people who comment on the good professor’s blog, agree!

  5. Since NJ is so near to and so close politically to PA Menendez should just claim that he got the cash and gold by looting which by Democrat standards, according to AOC, is just a way to “feed your family”.

    Philadelphia had a night that they deserve last night because they voted for Larry Krasner and elected a mayor that said his thoughts are with…the guy that pulled a gun on a cop.

    You know how when you went to a concert you could buy a sweatshirt with all the tour dates of the band you went to see, well there should be sweatshirts of cities joining the “doom loop” of economical and political ruination. You have Portland, SF. LA, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, probably some Washington State cities, DC and even some blue cities in red states like Ashville NC and Austin TX.

    Tax payers leaving, illegal immigrants coming in, stores closing meaning jobs ending, tax bases being lowered and all while liberals are still in charge and spending even more for the non-productive members of their electorate.

    The DOOM LOOP, the future of blue cities and the reason FL, TX, AZ, TN, ID and other red areas are growing while NY, NJ, CA, OR, WS, MA and IL are shrinking. The next census will prove costly for the blue party which is why they want DC and PR to become states.

      1. Upstate, the left is killing cities and they can’t seem to see what the future holds for these urban dystopias. Imagine the poor conservative cities in IL that laughed at Chicago for destroying themselves with soft on crime laws, including no cash bail, when they then see the lunatic governor decree that these laws are now STATEWIDE. So much for home rule and local control. Now the poor people of small IL cities have to suffer the ills of big city insanity. The good thing is that the same mentality that currently exists in the cities may not manifest itself as much in the small towns. But we shall see.

        This is why the DOOM LOOP will extend from big cities to entire states. Please note that IL, CA, and NY are all losing population to red states.

        1. HullBobby,
          A recent article says based off IRS tax claims, CA is going to lose 5 seats by 2030.
          Most people cite the reason leaving CA is high taxes, high cost of living, and crime. Also one of the most unfriendly to businesses.
          The people who can leave can afford to leave. That leaves those who cannot with the burden of higher taxes and less basic services. Unless they do something crime is likely to continue to increase.
          Target just announced it will be closing more stores in Blue cities to include New York City, Portland, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area.
          These are just a few examples of what progressive Democrat policies lead to.

  6. “… your tio loco, who doesn’t trust banks and prefers a Serta Perfect to Morgan Stanley to hold his money. Call it the “mattress defense.” …

    On one hand, Can you blame Him for stuffing the Mattress? Banks and the Bankers that run them are Notorious Financial Criminals that treat Us & the [K] like Pariah (i.e.: Jamie Dimon, CEO at JP Morgan). They run the Game. And whom should know better than Bob Menendez and Joe Biden. It takes One to Know One.

    The World is Changing and with it the ‘Soundness’ of security (Financial Value). It would be very interesting to see, what Insider Trading Information Bob Menendez has been involved in. This is just 1-Guy, there are 435 Members of Congress, plus those that have come and gone.

    The “Conspiracy Theorist” in me ask: Why did Mitt Romney exit stage left so fast – I can’t get my mind around his reason that He’s a sweet-ol-guy and it’s time to give the Younger Generation the Helm. Washington’s Crooks get effected by the lure & glitz of Money, keeping up with the Bidens (sic), and knowing that there is no end in sight – the costs keep going up and up.

  7. The trolls are out early. DO NOT RESPOND TO ANYONE MENTIONING TRUMP OR ANYONE OTHER THAN MENENDEZ OR BIDEN. No matter how stupid their comment.

    1. Good advice. As soon as I see “Turley” and not “Prof. Turley,” I move on to the next comment. Don’t even have to look for Trump whataboutisms.

    2. “He is claiming that he has been squirreling away money for years as a hedge against an authoritarian crackdown — of which his Democratic Party is in control, and he is one of its most senior senators.

      So he’s worried President Biden is going to grab his gold bars?

      It is hardly a roaring endorsement of our system.

      Menendez declared: “For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba. Now this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account.”

      Menendez at the very least has demonstrated the appearance of impropriety and should step and face trial. For those of you that require Professor Jonathan Turley be given a full title while never once calling Biden the President, Professor Jonathan Turley has reduced the thirty years that included Presidents Trump and Bush and rarely could be considered Democratic-controlled to being worried President Biden is going to grab his gold bars. The two times Menendez has been indicted were under Democratic administrations. Perhaps the Republican tolerance for grift is much higher. I’d write more but I have to getin my bid for Trump Tower and some other assets going on the market soon.

      1. Confederates…democrats
        Jim crow…democrats
        Woodrow wilson…racist democrat
        FDR…racist democrat
        Lyndon johnson…racist democrat
        Robert byrd….racist democrat
        Joe biden…segregationist and racist democrat
        Filibuster 1957 and 1964 civil rights acts…democrats
        Interned japanese americans…democrats
        Superpredators crime bill…democrats
        Margaret Sanger…apartheid genocidal democrat
        Created the unconstitutional 4th branch of govt…democrats
        Redistribution of wealth…democrats
        One party rule pack the SC…democrats
        One party rule abolish the filibuster…democrats
        One party rule add 2 more states…democrats
        One party rule abolish electoral ccllege…democrats
        Intimidate SC justices…democrats
        Call for intimidating officials…democrats

        But here is a perfect example of how the American Marxists of today have used their new versions of racism and segregation to alter the narrative…
        Joe Biden signed an anti-lynching law in 2020, and the Democrats took a victory lap and patted themselves on the back. For what? Being 100 years late? Democrats in the Senate blocked it for 27 years. When the Senate finally passed the anti-lynching bill in 1935, FDR refused to sign it.

        Ask a black voter today who signed the bill making MLK a holiday.

        Ask a black voter today who signed the superpredator crime bill.

        Ask a black voter today who said we have predators on our streets…beyond the pale.

        Ask a black voter today who coined the term super-predator.

        Ask a black voter who signed the legislation undoing the damage done by the Clinton/Biden crime bill. Dont tell them it was 6 years ago.

        Go look at CNN’s fact check of Trump accusing biden of calling people superpredators. They say he didnt support the theory. Their support for that claim was biden saying that “most youth in the juvenile system are not super-predators”. In what moron’s mind is that not an acknowledgement that super predators exist???

  8. The Professor calls it right down the middle….and in this case he is absolutely spot on.

    One Juror saved the guy last time….and that is all it takes this time NO MATTER THE EVIDENCE.

    The crook won last time and he knows the path to his salvation and is taking it.

    It is the only path available to him and the Professor confirms it.

    The Democrats howling for him to resign are the really dirty ones in this as at least Menendez is doing it for personal reasons at this point…..trying to save his own hide from being tacked to the Pack House Door.

    The others are not…..they are trying to “profit” by taking their own public stance on corruption, bribery, and wrong doing by fellow Democrats in a sordid bid to retain power.

    If the Jury convicts and we see this guy finally get his comeuppance (yes I know….a very false hope) it will cause a lot of embarrassment for the Democrats.

    What the Professor skipped over is how this case is being connected to Joe/Hunter Biden and other Democrats as other investigations and revelations are made public.

    That is the story that bears watching….how many Democrats get drawn into the Hunter Biden web of corruption.

    The proverbial Dike is showing many leaks and the little boy is running out of fingers and toes.

    The Media aka the Democrat Party PR machine cannot dump Joe Biden and cover up all of the corruption at the same time as the two are too closely interwoven to be able to winkle them apart.

        1. Your boy claimed one juror was the reason Menendez wasn’t convicted previously. Him you don’t question. Do you want to go in with me on buying Trump Tower? I hear there’s going to be a fire sale.

          1. “My boy”? Is that a racist perjorative?

            And if you hadn’t thrown in the self righteous, arrogant “facts matter”, I wouldn’t have responded to your nonsense, either. Glass houses.

            1. I didn’t say anything that wasn’t a fact. And no, “your boy” wasn’t racist, context matters. Was it nonsense to refute the ridiculous claim that one juror found Menendez not guilty.

              BTW, a lot of you have gone quiet lately, now claiming “whataboutism” when the collective you have been crying, “What about Hunter Biden?” with each new Trump indictment.

              1. Then please, explain to me what “your boy” meant. Do you just throw stupid phrases in for “context”? Because we all know what someone’s “boy” means, in ANY CONTEXT other than familial.

                IDK who you are speaking to, but you responded to my comment, so I assume you need me to tell you that I don’t give a rats behind about DJT’s indictments. And in another stunning display of lack of self awareness and irony, you whatabout in a comment decrying whataboutism. LMAO, hard to make this stuff up.

                On one of the major counts, it was a single juror. So, yes, your nonsense was just as nonsensical as his nonsense.

                1. “Your boy” in the context used had nothing to do with race. It had to do with someone’s views you refuse to object to because your political views (and political enemies) are the same. I sometimes watch Pardon The Interruption (PTI) where two men argue about sports, Tony Kornheiser (white) and Michael Wilbon (Black) often throw out the term when referring to an athlete/coach the other is a fan of, never having anything to do with race. Now when Jeff Sessions routinely called Black lawyers “boys” that wad different.

                  1. So Wilbon and Kornheisers careless use of a historically racist term in another context isn’t triggering? I wonder, do they use the term “your girl” when referring to the others favorite women?

                  2. “Your boy” in the context used had nothing to do with race. … “Now when Jeff Sessions routinely called Black lawyers “boys” that wad different.”

                    You are despicable. I remember that question about Sessions. You say it was routine for Sessions, but you have no proof. I remember the specific case in question. Sessions called a very young-looking black attorney boy, and the pictures showed the attorney looked like a boy. When I was young, occasionally, I was referred to as a ‘boy’. In conversation, many women will talk about their husbands saying, the boys went to play cards.

                    You are a never-ending source of racism and libel. We have a few bloggers who say racist things about blacks and Jews, but their racism is almost unseen when you are around. Maybe they should remove you from the blog for your continuous racism.

          2. “Do you want to go in with me on buying Trump Tower?”

            In case you hadn’t noticed, interest rates are at 7.19%, so no thanks. Good luck with that.

              1. “I hear it will be real cheap!”

                I’m sure that’s what you heard in your little circle jerk echo chamber, boy. But again, if Trump spends 367 years in jail or loses every property he owns or never gets to tap Melania again, or any other childish thing you might say, I don’t care, because I am no fan of his.

                  1. “Who says he’s tapping Melania now? “

                    Ummmm….no one.

                    Reading comprehension isnt your strong suit, is it?

  9. Professor, I come to your blog regularly because I appreciate reading logical, evidence based commentary on current events from someone with a strong legal background who trys to remain even-handed in his criticisms, and I’m usually not disappointed. Having said that, I was a bit surprised to read the sentences where you rather broadly associated the Senator with “dark places”. That seems to me a bit too close to an ad-hominem attack,or presuming guilt before the verdict. While I share your apparent suspicion of his guilt in this and other matters, and I appreciate a bit of ironic humor, I felt that the very broad insinuation lacked sufficient justification in the body of the article. Other than that, the article was fine – just stay classy.

  10. Ah yes……. The Fulgencio Batista defense. Gold Bar Bob’s “get out of jail” card. Mr. Sniffer Whiffer will be following this one closely.

  11. No! It is the classic sentiment of a criminal peeing with his pants down and the wind blowing toward him!

  12. A complete post on how the evidence stacks up against Menendez. Yet JT can’t find anything linking trump to the insurrection that followed within minutes of trump telling over a thousand people to be mad as hell and walk to the capitol to take their country back. Sheeeeeeeeeash.

    Selective memory?

    1. Dust off your pussy hat and get down to the capitol January 2025, because your insurrection/resistance movement will be reconvening.

      In the meantime, enjoy all the whataboutisms you like, they are meaningless and futile.

    2. Why is it so important to you that Turley repeat the lies, distortions, hyperbole, and dishonest misrepresentations your party manufactures?

    3. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

        1. No, he said Biden’s are allow to take bigger bribes. I think Jared’s $2 billion is bit higher.

          Look, corruption sees no political bounds in DC, or anywhere else in the world for that matter. But JT (and so many posters on this site) yell and scream about all the Demo corruption but see nothing with what trump has done. A bit of self recognition would be nice once in a while.

          1. If Jared, broke the law, I’m sure Merrick Garland would be all over it. And should be. The fact that the Biden DOJ is going after Menendez suggests something to me..

          2. Three out of three, you’re out! Back to the minors age 3-12

            Why do you expose your ignorance in such a fashion?

      1. Knowledge challenged? Typical investment mechanism. That is how BlackRock became so big. Jarad was carefully investigated more than once. Was BlackRock similarly investigated?

  13. in a court run by democrats…no laws need be followed.
    Heck their juries happily free criminals ALL THE TIME
    Oh and JAIL political opponents!

  14. President Biden was none too pleased. One news outlet reported:

    “Gold? That’s a real rookie move, Jack!” said Biden to reporters. “If you’re gonna get rich off a bribe, you gotta have money wired to several different shell companies in Ukraine which will then launder the money and wire it to your son in exchange for a painting, who will then buy some expensive items, and give you your cut. Come on, man! This ain’t rocket surgery! Don’t they launder money in Mexico or wherever this Menendez guy is from?”

    You can read the whole story here:

  15. The other day one of my kids texted me to ask how often I think of Ancient Rome (I said about once a week). Then there’s this story about a man who forgot to pick up his kids at school because he was thinking about the Roman Empire:

    Then I’ve seen memes about people thinking of the Roman Empire. Can anyone tell me why suddenly thinking about Rome is now a “thing”?

  16. Menendez works in Washington DC and probably has a residence there and presumably lives at least part time in New Jersey, so I’m currious why the indictment was brought by the Manhattan DA and not a district attorney in Washington DC or New Jersey. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for an explanation.

      1. The article I read said “District Attorney.” I can’t find that article now, and subsequent to Menendez’s arraignment this morning, all of the various articles I’ve found refer to the official as US Attorney, still in NY, not NJ:
        Here’s what the Justice Dept. says:

        “Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that an Indictment was unsealed this morning …”

        1. Ralph – I’ve noticed the news media is not precise with their terminology. When talking about the US Attorney, they often use the “DA” or “district attorney” terminology, perhaps as a colloquialism, even though it’s technically wrong. They’re generally not sticklers for details.

          1. Checking the DOJ’s map for the “Southern District of New YorK” —

            — I can still find no explanation for why this case was handled by that office and/or arraigned in Manhattan instead of New Jersey or Washington DC (or perhaps some suburb thereof, maybe in Virginia) where Menendez might maintain a residence. Why this matter is being handled in/by the DOJ Southen District of New York remains a mystery to me.

    1. Iowan2,
      I had the same thought.
      And the company he bought the gold from should have the transactions and the FedEx tracking numbers to prove it. If he paid in cash from a local PM dealer, they too should be able to prove he was at their store with video.

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