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Sen. Bob Menendez's wife, who faces bribery charges with him, has breast cancer

Nadine Menendez, the wife of Sen. Bob Menendez who is accused alongside her husband of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, has stage 3 breast cancer, the senator announced on Thursday.

“As a result of constant press inquiries and reporters following my wife, she has asked me to disclose her medical condition," Menendez, D-N.J., said in a statement. "Nadine is suffering from Grade 3 breast cancer, which will require her to have mastectomy surgery. We are of course, concerned about the seriousness and advanced stage of the disease."

The news comes during the first week of Menendez’s federal criminal, where he is accused of taking bribes in exchange for conducting official acts.

The statement also said that Nadine Menendez will need additional surgery and possibly radiation treatment.

"We hope and pray for the best results," he said. "We ask the press and the public to give her the time, space and privacy to deal with this challenging health condition as she undergoes surgery and recovery.”

Opening statements in the criminal trial began Wednesday, but Nadine Menendez was absent from the courtroom on Monday during jury selection. Her case was severed from her husband's by the judge in April because of her then-undisclosed medical issue.

Bob and Nadine Menendez have each pleaded not guilty alongside businessmen Fred Daibes and Wael Hana, who were also charged. The two men are standing trial with Menendez.

A third man, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty this year and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. He is expected to testify against the senator.

In opening statements Wednesday, prosecutors in Manhattan outlined their corruption allegations against Bob Menendez.

“For years he betrayed the people he was

Read more on nbcnews.com