A senior police officer from New Jersey rushed to the scene where Bob Menendez's wife was involved in a fatal collision in 2018. The officer questioned the patrolmen present and ensured that she was allowed to walk away from the scene without a sobriety test or surrender her phone.
Michael Mordaga, former director of Hackensack police and a former chief of detectives in the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, arrived at the scene within minutes after Menendez's wife Nadine Arslanian crashed her black Mercedes into Richard Koop in Bogota, NJ, in December 2018, according to The New York Post. Following the crash, Bogota Police arrived at the scene to question Arslanian.
Shocking New Revelations
Menendez and Arslanian are both facing charges related to felony bribery and corruption crimes. After Bogota Police arrived at the crime scene, Arslanian told them that Hoop had been jaywalking and put himself in the path of her car.
Mordaga, 66, reached soon after that and helped Arslanian leave the scene where her car was severely damaged in the crash. He quizzed the patrolman handling the crash about their intended course of action and then helped Arslanian collect her belongings from the vehicle.
Dashcam footage and 911 recordings indicate that Arslanian did not inquire about the victim. Moreover, she declined to have her cellphone examined.
The evidence also suggests that she did not call 911 until officers had already arrived at the scene. When she did contact 911, she provided incorrect information regarding the location of the crash.
Mordaga is the man who can be heard in the audio, asking the patrolmen if they had taken a statement from Arslanian. "That's my buddy's wife who's friends with her."
Mordaga said "could you do me a favor and take her up there because her friend just got in a car accident," he said, explaining why he'd shown up, before asking: "Are you guys getting a statement that you're going to give to the prosecutor's office?"
The police allowed Arslanian to leave the crash site without a sobriety test or obtaining her phone records.
She was never charged in connection to the incident and was eventually given a new convertible Mercedes to replace the vehicle that was damaged in the crash.
Going Escort Free
A month later, Arslanian texted Wael Hana, an Egyptian-American businessman also charged in the bribery scheme, discussing the loss of her vehicle. Prosecutors claim that he subsequently supplied her with a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible valued at $60,000.
However, Arslanian's involvement in the death of Koop was only revealed recently, following the release of dashcam footage and related records by the Bogota Police Department to NorthJersey.com.
Arslanian, who would later become Menendez's wife, claimed that she did not see Koop during the incident. However, the collision was forceful enough to propel Koop's body to the curb just steps away from his home on East Main Street in Bogota, while her vehicle crashed into a parked car.
Sheri Breen, an attorney representing Koop's estate, revealed that additional footage from a nearby business showed that Arslanian "moved her car around his body as he was lying in the road and she did not come to his aid or to even check on him."
Records indicate that Arslanian was not the first person to call 911 following the crash at 7:35 p.m. The dispatcher informed her that an officer was already present at the scene. She told the dispatcher that she was in "Teaneck," which is adjacent to Bogota.
The crash involving Koop occurred in front of 155 E. Main St. in Bogota. However, Arslanian inaccurately mentioned her location as "Teaneck," specifically 311 DeGraw Ave., which is located just to the west of the actual crash site.
While at the scene, Arslanian, dressed in a fur coat and a short dress despite the cold, initially agreed to allow the police to search her phone. However, she later requested an attorney, stating, "I don't want to say anything wrong."
"Why was the guy standing in the middle of the road?" she asked. "I didn't do anything wrong."
Later she told the patrolman: "He jumped on my windshield."
Both Arslanian, 56, and Menendez, 69, along with three others were indicted in Manhattan federal court recently, in a brazen bribery scheme. Prosecutors alleged that the couple had accumulated gold bullion, close to $500,000 in cash at their home, and a new Mercedes convertible.
Meanwhile, Michael Mordaga, has faced accusations of informing on Frank Lagano, a reputed member of the Lucchese crime family. The alleged action allegedly contributed to Lagano's assassination in 2007, which took place in the parking lot of an East Brunswick diner he co-owned.
Mordaga also faced further allegations in a separate federal complaint, accusing him of not intervening in a domestic violence incident in 2015. The incident involved two married police officers, Sara Malvasia and Niles Malvasia, who worked with the Hackensack Police Department at that time. Mordaga was the head of the force during that period.