Senator Bob Menendez made a comprehensive statement in both English and Spanish, addressing the recent federal corruption charges leveled against him and his wife. Speaking from Union City, New Jersey, a place significant to his political career, the 69-year-old Democrat declared his intent to remain in office despite mounting calls for his resignation, including demands from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and others.
The charges, as detailed in the September 22 indictment, revolve around a lengthy scheme where Menendez is accused of accepting bribes, even including gold bars, in exchange for using his political influence to benefit three businessmen and the government of Egypt.
Menendez, responding to allegations that he provided sensitive information to the Egyptian government, stated, “If you look at my actions related to Egypt during the period described in this indictment, and throughout my whole career, my record is clear and consistent in holding Egypt accountable for its unjust detention of American citizens and others, its human rights abuses, its deepening relationship with Russia, and efforts that have eroded the independence of the judiciary, among a myriad of concerns.”
In the indictment, it is mentioned that stacks of cash were discovered when federal agents searched Menendez’s home earlier in the year. Menendez explained that these funds came from his personal savings account and were intended for emergencies.
For his legal defense, Senator Menendez has reassembled his legal team. He has chosen defense attorney Abbe Lowell, who successfully defended him against corruption charges six years ago. Lowell, who is currently involved in representing Hunter Biden in a separate case, will be defending Menendez against three federal bribery counts in this latest indictment, NY Post pointed out.
Menendez’s decision to retain Lowell came after the indictment was unsealed, and while Lowell has been occupied with high-profile cases, he has not yet commented on his involvement in Menendez’s defense.
Lowell previously secured a hung jury verdict for Menendez in his previous federal corruption case, which involved allegations of improper gifts from a Florida eye surgeon.
Lowell’s track record includes winning an acquittal for Matthew Grimes, an employee of Trump supporter Tom Barrack, on charges related to acting as a foreign agent unlawfully. He also represented Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner during the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Additionally, Lowell is representing Hunter Biden in a case involving a three-count indictment on gun charges stemming from an alleged false statement on a firearm purchase form regarding Biden’s addiction to crack cocaine.
According to the Manhattan indictment, Senator Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are alleged to have entered into a “corrupt bribery agreement” with three affluent New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government.
The charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years if the couple is convicted on all counts. Prosecutors claim that the Menendezs received various gifts, including substantial amounts of cash, gold bars, and a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertible, all discovered during a June 2022 raid at their Englewood Cliffs residence.
In return, Menendez is accused of safeguarding the interests of businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, and attempting to intervene in a separate criminal case involving one of them, NY Post reported.
The indictment further asserts that Menendez utilized his influential position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to assist the Egyptian government by sharing sensitive information from the U.S. government and covertly lobbying for the release of $300 million in aid to Cairo.
Despite mounting pressure, Senator Menendez, who has been serving in the Senate since 2006, relinquished his committee position following a request from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer but steadfastly refuses to resign. This decision has prompted calls for his resignation from several prominent figures, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and some House Democrats. Senators John Fetterman and Sherrod Brown have also joined the chorus of voices calling for Menendez to step down