Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democratic senator from New Jersey, is facing corruption charges that allege he used his influence to accept bribes, along with his wife, Nadine. Menendez is set to appear before a federal judge in New York to formally respond to the charges. He has denied any wrongdoing and is expected to plead not guilty. However, he is facing pressure to resign from his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and at the local level in New Jersey. The indictment alleges that investigators found over $480,000 in cash hidden in the couple’s home, along with other valuable items and payments towards a mortgage.
Menendez is also charged alongside three businessmen who allegedly paid the bribes. One of the co-defendants, Wael Hana, has already pleaded not guilty, while two others, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, are expected to be arraigned. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York revealed that Daibes’ fingerprints and DNA were found on some of the envelopes of cash discovered in Menendez’s home. Menendez, who was previously the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, claims that all the cash found was his own and based on his personal savings over the years.
Despite the mounting calls for his resignation, Menendez remains defiant, asserting his innocence and questioning why he should resign. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin became the highest-ranking member of the Democratic Party to call for Menendez to step down. This is not the first time Menendez has faced charges, as he was previously indicted in 2015 for accepting favors from a Florida eye doctor. However, that case ended in a mistrial. Menendez appears to be the first sitting senator to have been indicted on two unrelated criminal allegations in U.S. history.