(Bloomberg) -- A businessman pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe US Senator Bob Menendez with a new Mercedes Benz convertible in exchange for favors, suggesting he will cooperate with prosecutors in the sprawling corruption case against the New Jersey Democrat. 

Jose Uribe admitted Friday in federal court in New York that he bribed Menendez and his wife Nadine for the senator’s help in resolving an indictment of an associate and a related investigation of an employee. 

The guilty plea before a trial scheduled for May 6 is a strong indication that Uribe, who works in insurance and trucking businesses, may testify against Menendez. His comments during the court hearing suggested he can provide an insider’s account of the bribery plot. 

“I agreed with several people, including Nadine Menendez, to provide Nadine with a Mercedes Benz in return for Senator Menendez using his power and influence as a United States senator to get a favorable outcome and to stop all investigations related to one of my associates, and, if necessary, to stop the possible investigation into another person who I considered to be a member of my family,” said Uribe, according to a transcript.  

Uribe also said he made payments on the car in a way that concealed his involvement. 

“I knew that giving a car in return for influencing a United States senator to stop a criminal investigation was wrong, and I deeply regret my actions,” Uribe said. 

Uribe, 56, was indicted in September with Menendez, his wife and two other businessmen. Prosecutors accused Menendez and his wife of accepting almost $500,000 in cash, 13 gold bars and the Mercedes in bribes.

A lawyer for Menendez declined to comment, as did a lawyer for Uribe. The senator has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.  

This is the second corruption prosecution against Menendez after a trial over unrelated allegations ended in a mistrial six years ago. This latest case has brought harsh repercussions, particularly because the photos of cash and gold seized by federal agents were shocking to so many people.

The 70-year-old has stepped down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Tammy Snyder Murphy, wife of Governor Phil Murphy, is running for his seat, along with US Representative Andy Kim.

Uribe admitted seven federal charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and tax evasion. Beyond the bribery charge, Uribe admitted he caused a former lawyer to make false statements to prosecutors that payments he made for the Mercedes were loans. 

Uribe also admitted that evaded taxes from 2016 to 2021. Uribe had lost his insurance broker’s license because of a fraud conviction, the US said.

In pleading guilty to wire fraud, Uribe admitted that he falsely obtained funds from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. 

(Updates with Uribe statements in court in paragraph 4.)

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