For New York Magazine: Senator Bob and Nadine Menendez

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It's virtually impossible to disentangle the love story of New Jersey's showman senator and his wife from the charges against them. According to one of his friends, he had nicknamed her "Bubbles," a reference to her cleavage, and she would swoon to a podcaster in 2020 that "he is such a perfect gentleman." Texts cited in the indictment reveal an exceptionally affectionate relationship. But also one that seemed to thrill in a flashy lifestyle that likely attracted the Department of Justice's attention and might just bring down his career.

Just a few years after he successfully fought off a corruption indictment -- prosecutors said he "sold his soul for a lifestyle he couldn't afford" -- New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez stands once more accused of bribe-taking in a gaudy, messy alleged scheme involving the Egyptian intelligence services, a halal meat mogul, gold bars, and a gifted Mercedes Benz. 

This time around, according to the Feds anyway, his alleged partner in these crimes was his wife, Nadine, a former divorcée living in Englewood whom he met at a Union City IHOP, not long after his last charges ended in a hung jury, and nicknamed Bubbles. But who is she, and did she know what she was doing when she introduced the senator to her generous Egyptian friends? 

For Intelligencer, journalist Nina Burleigh talks to the people who knew them both -- including one actual Real Housewife of New Jersey -- in this portrait of a fun-loving couple very much in love and, today, very much in legal peril.

Read the rest at New York Magazine 

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