U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is due in court Wednesday to answer to charges that he used his powerful post to secretly advance Egyptian interests and do favors for New Jersey businessmen in exchange for bribes of cash and gold bars.
The New Jersey Democrat will make his first appearance in a federal court in Manhattan amid growing calls from colleagues that he resign from Congress.
A defiant Menendez — who was forced to step down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee after the indictment was brought last week — says allegations that he abused his power to line his own pockets are baseless. He has said he’s confident he will be exonerated and has no intention of leaving the Senate.
It’s the second corruption case in a decade against Menendez, whose last trial involving different allegations ended with jurors failing to reach a verdict in 2017.
Fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker on Tuesday joined the calls for Menendez to resign, saying in a statement that the indictment contains ”shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing.” Around half of Senate Democrats have now said that Menendez should step down, including several running for reelection next year.
Also set to be arraigned Wednesday is Menendez’s wife, Nadine, who prosecutors say played a key role in collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes from three New Jersey businessmen seeking help from the powerful lawmaker. An attorney for Nadine Menendez has said she also denies the allegations and will fight the charges.