Senator Bob Menendez to be Arraigned on Federal Indictment for Conspiring as a Foreign Agent: What’s Next for Menendez and Senate Democrats?
Sen. Bob Menendez to be Arraigned on Federal Indictment
On Monday, Senator Bob Menendez is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on a federal indictment accusing him of conspiring to act as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government.
This is the second time in less than four weeks that the Democratic senator from New Jersey will enter a plea on criminal charges related to allegations of office abuse. Menendez is expected to plead not guilty to the new charge.
Despite the charges, Menendez, who is up for reelection next year, has denied any wrongdoing and has no plans to resign. The arraignment will take place at 3 p.m. ET in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Last month, Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were charged with accepting various bribes, including gold bars, cash, home mortgage payments, and a Mercedes-Benz convertible, as part of an alleged “corrupt relationship” with three businessmen from New Jersey.
The previous indictment accused Menendez of using his power and influence to secretly assist the Government of Egypt, including sharing sensitive U.S. Government information.
In September, Menendez and his wife pleaded not guilty to the initial three-count indictment, which charged them with conspiring to commit bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion under color of official right.
In mid-October, a federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment in the same case, adding the charge of conspiring for a public official to act as a foreign agent against Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen named Wael Hana.
The new criminal count alleges that they knowingly conspired to have Menendez unlawfully act as an agent of a foreign principal.
Last week, four of the co-defendants in the case pleaded not guilty to the charges in the updated indictment. Menendez had requested a delay in his arraignment to attend previously scheduled Senate votes.
What’s next for Menendez and Senate Democrats?
As Senator Menendez fights his criminal charges, he has stepped down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senate Democrats, who aim to maintain their slim majority in the chamber beyond the 2024 election cycle, have openly called for Menendez’s resignation.
If he does resign, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, could appoint a successor to serve the remainder of Menendez’s term. Murphy has also urged Menendez to step down.
Despite facing unrelated bribery charges in a previous case, which ended in a mistrial in 2017, Menendez remains defiant.
In response to the latest criminal charges, Menendez stated, “The government’s latest charge flies in the face of my long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt and in challenging leaders of that country, including President El-Sisi on these issues. I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country — the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom. Piling new charge upon new charge does not make the allegations true. The facts haven’t changed, only a new charge. It is an attempt to wear someone down and I will not succumb to this tactic. I again ask people who know me and my record to give me the chance to present my defense and show my innocence.”
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.