- Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty Monday to a federal indictment charging him with conspiring to act as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government.
- The brief hearing marked the second time in less than four weeks that the Democratic senator from New Jersey has been arraigned on criminal charges related to his alleged abuse of office.
- Menendez, who is up for re-election next year, has denied wrongdoing and vowed not to resign.
Sen. Bob Menendez, DNJ, is seen after addressing colleagues at a Senate Democratic luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty Monday to a federal indictment charging him with conspiring to act as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government.
The brief hearing in federal court in Manhattan marked the second time in less than four weeks that the Democratic senator from New Jersey has been arraigned on criminal charges related to his alleged abuse of office.
Menendez, who is up for re-election next year, has denied wrongdoing and vowed not to resign.
Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were charged last month with accepting an array of bribes — including gold bars, cash, home mortgage payments and a Mercedes-Benz convertible — as part of a long-standing “corruption relationship” with three New Jersey businessmen .
That indictment accuses Menendez of using his power and influence in ways that “covertly assisted the government of Egypt,” including by sharing “sensitive U.S. government information.”
The senator and his wife pleaded not guilty on Sept. 27 to the original three-count indictment that charged them with conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services fraud and extortion.
In mid-October, a federal grand jury returned an overturned indictment in the same case, charging Menendez, his wife and one of the businessmen, Wale Hanna, with conspiring for a government official to act as a foreign agent.
The new indictment alleges that they “intentionally and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated and conspired together and among themselves” to cause Menendez to unlawfully “act as an agent of a foreign principal.”
Four of the co-defendants in the case last week pleaded not guilty to the charges in the updated indictment. Menendez was granted a delay in his impeachment trial so he could vote early in the Senate.
Menendez, who has been in the Senate for 17 years, stepped down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while he fights his criminal charges.
As Senate Democrats seek to retain their slim majority in the chamber beyond the 2024 election cycle, many have openly called for Menendez to resign.
If he steps down, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy could appoint a successor to serve out the remainder of his term. Murphy, a Democrat, also called on Menendez to resign.
But the senator, who previously faced unrelated bribery charges in a separate case that ended in a mistrial in 2017, remained defiant.
“The government’s latest accusation runs counter to my long track record of advocating for human rights and democracy in Egypt and challenging the leaders of that country, including President El-Sisi, on these issues. All my life I have been loyal to only one country – the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom,” Menendez said in a statement following his latest criminal charges.
“Picking up new accusation after new accusation does not make the accusations true. The facts have not changed, just a new accusation,” Menendez said. “This is an attempt to wear someone down and I will not fall for that tactic. Again, I am asking people who know me and my record to give me a chance to present my defense and prove my innocence.”