Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and his spouse, Nadine Menendez, entered federal court on Wednesday amid allegations of receiving bribes from three New Jersey entrepreneurs. This development intensifies the calls within the Democratic party for Menendez’s resignation.
Last week, Manhattan federal prosecutors alleged that the 69-year-old senator and his wife took gold bars and large sums of money, ostensibly in return for Menendez leveraging his influence on Egypt’s behalf and obstructing law enforcement inquiries into the involved businessmen.
Bob Menendez, his wife, Nadine Menendez, 56, and entrepreneurs Fred Daibes, 66, and Jose Uribe, 56, were scheduled to attend a federal hearing in Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. Meanwhile, Wael Hana, 40, entered a plea of not guilty the previous day.
Nadine Menendez’s attorney, David Schertler, expressed her intention to deny the allegations and contest them vigorously. Legal representatives for Bob Menendez, Uribe, and Daibes remained unavailable for comment.
While Bob Menendez, one of New Jersey’s two senators, relinquished his position as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in line with party protocol, he declared his intent to remain in the Senate and contest the allegations.
Since the disclosure of the charges last Friday, a majority of Democratic senators, including New Jersey’s junior senator, Cory Booker, have urged Menendez to resign. Notably, Menendez, influential in foreign policy matters, has occasionally differed with his party’s stance.
The Senate’s delicate balance sees Democrats holding a slight majority with 51 seats, which includes three independents typically aligning with them, compared to 49 for the Republicans. Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor, responsible for naming an interim replacement if Menendez resigns, has joined the chorus urging his resignation.
Evidence presented in the indictment showcased gold bars and money authorities retrieved from Menendez’s residence. Prosecutors allege that Hana facilitated sessions between Menendez and Egyptian representatives, subsequently securing a position for Nadine Menendez in one of his enterprises.
This investigation marks the third instance of federal authorities probing Menendez, who remains without any convictions to date.