Creating new perspectives since 2009

US Senator Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to corruption charges

September 27, 2023 at 5:33 pm

US Senator Bob Menendez holds a press conference as he rejects accusations of corruption on 25 September, 2023 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

US Senator, Bob Menendez, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of taking bribes from three New Jersey businessmen, as calls for his resignation from his fellow Democrats escalated, Reuters reports.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan last week accused Menendez, 69, and his wife, of accepting gold bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for the Senator using his influence to aid Egypt’s government and interfere with law enforcement investigations of the businessmen.

Menendez entered the plea at a hearing before US Magistrate Judge, Ona Wang, in Manhattan.

His wife, Nadine Menendez, 56, and businessmen Jose Uribe, 56, and Fred Daibes, 66, also pleaded not guilty. A third businessman, Wael Hana, 40, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

READ: US Senator Menendez to appear in court on charges of receiving bribes from Egypt

An infographic titled "A timeline of US Senator Bob Menendez's corruption indictments" created in Ankara, Turkiye on September 26, 2023 [Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu Agency]

An infographic titled “A timeline of US Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption indictments” created in Ankara, Turkiye on September 26, 2023 [Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu Agency]

Menendez, one of two senators representing New Jersey, stepped down from his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations

Committee, as required under his party’s rules. But, on Monday, he said he would stay in the Senate and fight the charges.

More than half of all US Democratic senators – including Cory Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey – have called on Menendez, a powerful voice on foreign policy who has, at times, bucked his own party, to resign since the charges were unveiled on Friday.

Democrats narrowly control the Senate with 51 seats, including three independents who normally vote with them, to the Republicans’ 49. Democratic New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, who would appoint a temporary replacement should Menendez step aside, has also called for him to resign.

The indictment contained images of gold bars and cash which investigators seized from Menendez’s home. Prosecutors say Hana arranged meetings between the Senator and Egyptian officials – who pressed him to sign off on military aid – and, in return, put his wife on the payroll of a company he controlled.

The probe marks the third time Menendez has been under investigation by federal prosecutors. He has never been convicted.

READ: Erdogan sees advantage in US Senator Menendez troubles