‘Sheeeeiiitttt’: Sen. Bob Menendez’s Bribery Indictment Is Giving Clay Davis Vibes From ‘The Wire’

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Robert “Bob” Menendez, U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey, on September 1, 2023 in Cernobbio, Italy. | Source: Pier Marco Tacca / Getty

The federal corruption indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez may not be a complete surprise to people who follow politics closely. But the nature of the allegations is at least semi-shocking, considering he’s accused of a wide-ranging bribery scheme in which he even accepted gold bars as payments.

The whole thing is giving this writer extreme Clay Davis vibes. But more on that later.

Menendez’s grand jury indictment is not just against him but also his wife.

CBS News reports:

The bribery offenses against Menendez stem from a yearslong public-corruption investigation by the Justice Department. The indictment unsealed Friday charges Mendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, with three counts in connection to their relationship with three New Jersey businessmen.

Menendez, 69, and his wife face one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The three New Jersey associates, identified as Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, are also named as co-defendants and face two counts.

But the devil is in the details.

The Menendezes allegedly accepted everything from envelopes filled with cash to mortgage payments to “gold bars,” the latter of which U.S. Attorney Damian Williams showed photos of during a press conference announcing the charges on Friday.


The Feds have been after Menendez for a while and maybe, just maybe, this will be the time they get him.

But they didn’t get their man when he was similarly federally indicted on unrelated corruption charges in 2015 – charges that resulted in a hung jury when the case finally went to trial in 2018 and the charges were dropped.

For fans of the crime drama The Wire, the scenario with Menendez was likely all too familiar.

"The Wire" Season 5 Premiere - Outside Arrivals NEW YORK - JANUARY 04: Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. arrives at "The Wire" Season 5 Premiere at Chelsea West Cinema on January 4, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played Clay Davis on “The Wire,” on January 4, 2008, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images / Getty

What with fictional and notoriously corrupt Maryland State Sen. R. Clayton “Clay” Davis facing similar charges before a jury of his peers found him not guilty of not accepting bribes.

For the uninitiated, the omnipresent Clay Davis was featured in all but on of the five seasons of The Wire and he was always looking to dig in someone’s pockets – including a powerful drug dealer in Baltimore.

In one perfectly executed episode, drug dealer Stringer Bell – portrayed by Idris Elba – learns from his equally crooked lawyer that Clay Davis had been scamming him.

The lawyer explained to Stringer Bell: “A guy says if you pay him, he can make it rain. You pay him. If and when it rains, he takes the credit. If and when it doesn’t, he comes up with reasons for you to pay more. Clay Davis rainmade you …… It’s an old game in this town, and Clay Davis? That goniff was born with his hand in someone’s pocket.”


Not to be outdone, Clay Davis also had his own catchphrase that he could apply to any situation by elongating the pronunciation of a certain four-letter curse word to the effect of: “Sheeeeeiiiiiiitttttttt.”

While it’s unclear how exactly the Menendezes are accused of procuring the alleged bribes, for fans of The Wire like this writer, chances are they may have uttered a “sheeeiiitttttt” or two after learning the grand jury indicted them on Friday.


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