In a press conference held on Monday, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) addressed the federal corruption charges leveled against him. The charges were brought by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, accusing Menendez of accepting bribes.
The federal indictment, unsealed on Friday, alleges that Menendez and his wife received bribes from three business individuals in exchange for actions taken by the senator as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. These bribes were reportedly intended to protect the businessmen and benefit Egypt.
During the press conference, Menendez provided an explanation for the $480,000 cash found at his residence during a search warrant execution. He claimed that the money came from his personal savings account, which he had been withdrawing from over the past 30 years for emergencies. Menendez attributed the cash withdrawals to his family’s history of facing confiscation in Cuba. He stated, “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. I look forward to addressing other issues at trial.”
However, Menendez did not directly address the allegations of accepting gold, luxury cars, home furnishings, and mortgage payments as bribes, as stated in the indictment. Authorities claim that some of the envelopes containing money discovered at Menendez’s home had the fingerprints of the business individuals accused of providing the bribes. The indictment also accuses the senator of sharing sensitive U.S. government information with the Egyptian government.
While speaking about his record on Egypt, Menendez emphasized his consistent stance on holding the country accountable for its actions. He highlighted his efforts in addressing issues such as the unjust detention of American citizens, human rights abuses, deepening relations with Russia, and erosion of the nation’s judiciary independence.
If convicted of the charges, Menendez could face up to 45 years in prison. The charges against him include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.