In a statement on Friday, the senator said, “For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exist.”
“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction. Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals,” he continued.
The statement went on:
“I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent.”Trending:
Finally, he claimed, “They wrote these charges as they wanted; the facts are not as presented. Prosecutors did that the last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version.”
On Friday, federal prosecutors accused the senator, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his wife of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes between 2018 and 2022.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said during a press conference, “The senator and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for Sen. Menendez using his power and influence to protect and to enrich those businessmen and to benefit the government of Egypt.”
Officials announce Sen. Bob Menendez's (D-NJ) indictment:
“The senator and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for Sen. Menendez using his power and influence to protect and to enrich those businessmen and to benefit the government of Egypt.” pic.twitter.com/0o730Zt0tZ
— The Recount (@therecount) September 22, 2023
Federal agents allegedly discovered “over $480,000 in cash—much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe” at the Menendez’s home and a safety deposit box while they were executing a search warrant in 2022.
The indictment also accused the senator of seeking to influence a pending prosecution of one of the men allegedly involved in the corruption scheme.
After news of the indictment, Rep. Dean Philips (D-Minn.) appeared on CNN and noted Menendez is innocent until proven guilty, but argued the senator should resign anyways as he said, “A member of Congress who appears to have broken the law is someone who I believe should resign.”
Friday’s indictment is not the first time the New Jersey senator has faced corruption charges. In 2017, a jury was unable to come to a verdict on whether he had sold his political influence to a doctor. After the trial ended with a hung jury, Menendez claimed, “Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest.”
And in 2018, federal prosecutors announced they would not seek to re-try the senator.
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