Sen. Bob Menendez will not resign despite calls for his resignation after facing federal corruption charges related to an alleged years-long bribery scheme, the New Jersey Democrat announced Friday.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty,” Menendez, 69, said in a statement.
“I plan to continue fighting for the people of New Jersey with the same success I have had over the past five decades. This is the same track record that these same leaders have always praised.”
Menendez, who has served in the Senate since 2006, wildly claimed that his ethnicity played a role in calls for his ouster from the upper house.
“It’s not lost on me how quickly some people judge a Latino and push him out of his place,” he said.
“I do not go anywhere.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, 56, on Friday with three counts of conspiracy in connection with what prosecutors described as a “corrupt bribery agreement” involving the couple, three New York businessmen Jersey and others benefited from the government of Egypt.
The Democrat allegedly accepted a Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan worth $60,000, 13 gold bars and $566,000 in cash in exchange for providing Egyptian officials with confidential, non-public U.S. government information and urged U.S. officials to release $300 million in aid to Cairo.
Prosecutors also say Menendez and his wife received mortgage payments, a recliner, exercise equipment and other items in exchange for protecting the business interests of co-defendants Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes and shielding Uribe and Daibes from criminal investigation.
While Menendez pledged to remain in the Senate, he has resigned from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “until the matter is resolved,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday.
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called for Menendez’s immediate resignation from the Senate in light of the allegations, calling the allegations in the impeachment “deeply disturbing” and “so serious that they threaten Senator Menendez’s ability to serve the people.” “to represent our state effectively.”
Other Democrats, including Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) and former Attorney General Eric Holder, have also called on Menendez to resign.
What we know about the charges against Bob Menendez
New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is facing federal corruption charges over an alleged years-long scheme.
According to officials, Menendez allegedly accepted bribes, including gold bullion, in exchange for helping three businessmen, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, and the country of Egypt.
Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were accused of accepting hundreds of thousands in bribes, according to a federal indictment in Manhattan.
When authorities searched Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs home in June 2022, they found a 2019 Mercedes C-Class, at least 13 gold bars and $566,000 cash “packaged in envelopes.” Another $70,000 cash was found in Nadine’s locker.
According to federal authorities, Menendez also received mortgage payments and paid for a no-show or infrequent job and furnishings for his apartment.
This is not the first time the 69-year-old Democrat has been charged with federal corruption. In 2015, Menendez was accused of accepting gifts from Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen.
The “gifts” included a Paris vacation, flights on a private jet and vacations at Melgen’s villa in the Dominican Republic.
Menendez dodged a previous federal indictment in 2017 after a jury deadlocked on corruption and bribery charges, leading to a mistrial.
In that case, prosecutors alleged that the Garden State senator received nearly $1 million in private jet flights, vacations and other gifts from ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen from Florida accepted in return for obtaining visas for the doctor’s foreign friends.
Follow the Post’s latest coverage of the impeachment of Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey
Investigators also alleged that Menendez received large political donations in exchange for helping Melgen secure lucrative government contracts.
Menendez was previously investigated for corruption in 2006 by then-New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie over allegations that a nonprofit group rented space from him while he helped it raise funding.
No charges were filed in this case and the investigation was closed in 2011.