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HomeLatest NewsSen. Menendez enters not guilty plea in federal bribery case.

Sen. Menendez enters not guilty plea in federal bribery case.

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Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, pleaded not guilty to federal charges stemming from an alleged bribery scheme that involved the senator using his political power to help the Egyptian government and three New Jersey businessmen. The couple was arraigned in U.S. district court in Manhattan after being indicted alongside the businessmen. Menendez was released on a $100,000 bond and had to surrender his passport, while Nadine Menendez was released on a $250,000 bond. The Justice Department claimed that the couple accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars, gold bars, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for political favors. Menendez, however, has staunchly denied any wrongdoing and expressed confidence in his exoneration.

According to the indictment, Menendez allegedly shared sensitive, nonpublic information from the U.S. government and pressured a high-ranking official to benefit a halal meat company owned by one of his co-defendants. He is also accused of attempting to interfere with state and federal investigations to benefit two other co-defendants. In June 2022, federal agents searched Menendez’s home and found more than $480,000 in cash, gold bars, and other items allegedly paid for by the businessmen. Menendez claimed the cash was withdrawn from his personal savings account for emergencies. These bribery charges follow a previous case in which Menendez faced federal charges but ended in a mistrial. Calls for Menendez’s resignation have intensified, with more than half of the Senate Democratic caucus urging him to step down.

Despite the mounting pressure, Menendez remains adamant about his innocence and has vowed to continue serving as the senior senator representing New Jersey. However, Democratic senators, including Senator Cory Booker, who once testified as a character witness for Menendez, are now calling for his resignation. Booker stated that stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment of the sacrifices required in public office. Several House Democrats and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy have also called for Menendez’s resignation. Menendez has served in the Senate since 2006, and his seat is up for reelection in 2024. Although he has not announced his intentions yet, Democrat Rep. Andy Kim has announced his bid for Menendez’s seat.

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