Sen. Bob Menendez indicated that he has no plans to resign Monday, days after federal authorities announced that he and his wife had been indicted on bribery charges.
“The allegations leveled against me are just that — allegations,” the New Jersey Democrat said at a news conference. He added, “I recognize that this will be the biggest fight yet, but as I have stated throughout this whole process, I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator.”
Democrats and Republicans have called for Menendez’s resignation after prosecutors announced Friday that he and his wife, Nadine Arslanian, had been indicted on corruption charges. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, called for Menendez to step down after the charges were made public. Former President Donald Trump, who is leading the GOP race for the 2024 presidential nomination, said Sunday in a post on social media that all Senate Democrats should resign in light of the allegations.
Menendez stepped down from his high-profile role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following his indictment, The Associated Press reported.
Authorities said Menendez and Arslanian accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from three New Jersey businessmen from 2018 to 2022. The bribes “included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle” and more, officials said.
In exchange, Menendez used the power of his office to benefit the businessmen — identified as Wael “Will” Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes — and to benefit the government of Egypt, court records allege.
In an indictment made public last week, prosecutors said investigators found $500,000 in cash stuffed into envelopes, closets and the senator’s jacket pockets, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gold bars. On Monday, Menendez claimed that the cash had been taken out of his personal savings account.
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” he said. “Now, this may seem old fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years.”
He did not address the gold bars or the allegations leveled against his wife.
“I look forward to addressing other issues at trial,” he said.
The case is not the first in which Menendez has been accused of corruption. Authorities charged the senator with bribery in 2015, but later dropped the case after a federal jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.