Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has ignored his colleagues’ pleas to resign after he was indicted on federal bribery charges earlier this week.
Menendez, 69, and his wife Nadine, 56, face three criminal charges each for their part in an alleged bribery scheme after a year-long investigation.
After charges against the beleaguered senator, who had previously been indicted, were released on Friday, numerous colleagues called for him to resign.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the allegations “deeply troubling” in statements and asked the senator to resign.
Similarly, Republican Bill Pascrell Jr., one of the highest-ranking members of the state’s congressional delegation, said the severity of the charges was the difference.
Senator Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian have been charged with three crimes related to bribery and extortion
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy delivers his State of the State address during a joint session of the Legislature at the State House in Trenton, New Jersey
Pascrell said, “This is a sad day for our great state. The senator deserves his day in court.
“But given the seriousness of these allegations, I do not believe Senator Menendez can continue to fulfill the important duties of his office for our state.”
Governor Phil Murphy released a statement saying, “The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply troubling.
“These are serious charges that endanger national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system.
“In our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have been found not guilty and will have the opportunity to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process.
“However, the alleged facts are so serious that they jeopardize Senator Menendez’s ability to effectively represent the people of our state. That is why I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Despite this, Menendez resisted calls for him to step down from his role, saying: “Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty.
“I intend to continue fighting for the people of New Jersey with the same success I have had over the past fifty years.” I’m going nowhere.’
Senator Bob Menendez, 69, and wife Nadine, 56, in Cernobbio, Italy earlier this month
After the indictment was released, Menendez claimed he was the victim of a racist witch hunt against him.
He said: “Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first generation of Latin Americans could rise from humble beginnings to become a US Senator.
“I have been falsely accused before because I refused to stand down to those in power and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize that I was innocent.”
He added that he would not be “distracted by unfounded accusations” but would continue his work as a senator.
Several gold bars were found during a court-approved search of the couple’s home in June 2022.
The gold bars were part of the hundreds of thousands of bribes the couple is accused of, which totaled more than $400,000.
Agents also discovered more than $500,000 in cash wrapped in envelopes and the senator’s jackets.
The complaint alleged that the New Jersey senator googled “How much is one pound of gold worth?” after returning home from a trip to Egypt in October 2021.
Agents discovered more than $500,000 in cash wrapped in envelopes and the senator’s jackets.
Authorities found two one-kilogram gold bars and eleven one-ounce gold bars at Menendez’s home during a search in June 2022
The gold bars were part of the hundreds of thousands of bribes the couple is accused of
Menendez Googled the price of gold again shortly after his wife thanked Fred Daibes, a New Jersey businessman and former employee of Menendez, for “Christmas in January,” the document said.
Daibes is a longtime friend of Menendez, has raised money for his Senate campaign and is believed to have ties to the Genovese mafia family.
The indictment alleges that Menendez attempted to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution of Fred Daibes in exchange for the money and other valuables.
Daibes and two others, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe, were involved in paying “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for the senator using his power to secretly benefit the Egyptian government, according to the indictment.
Uribe allegedly bought Menendez and Nadine the luxury vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible worth more than $60,000.
In return, Menendez “agreed and attempted to interfere with a criminal prosecution by the State of New Jersey of an associate of Uribe,” according to the indictment.
The couple each faces three criminal counts: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit racketeering under the color of official right.
The three businessmen are charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
The indictment also accuses the senator of providing “sensitive U.S. government information and taking other steps that secretly aided the government of Egypt.”
The investigation also looked into other bribes allegedly paid to the couple. “These bribes included cash, gold, mortgage payments, compensation for a low- or no-show job, a luxury car and other items of value,” the indictment said.
Fred Daibes, chairman and CEO of Daibes Enterprises, in his Edgewater office, alleged to have ties to the Genovese mafia family
Menendez and Nadine pictured here Hana Wael who allegedly paid the senator ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes’
Uribe allegedly bought Menendez and Nadine this Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible, worth more than $60,000
Menendez and his wife reportedly sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold bars, despite facing foreclosure just three years earlier and initially failing to disclose it in their ethics files.
Businesswoman Nadine Arslanian, 56, cashed in up to $400,000 in gold last spring, in a sale that took place just months before a federal investigation into the New Jersey Democrat was announced to the public.
Damian Williams, an attorney for the Southern District of New York, outlined the allegations and supporting evidence during a news conference Friday morning.
Williams said the couple used Menendez’s “power and influence to protect and enrich businessmen and benefit the government of Egypt.”
He noted that investigators “executed a search warrant and discovered more than $500,000 in cash stuffed into envelopes and the senator’s jackets” and a “lot of gold.”
David Schertler, an attorney for Nadine Menendez, said she “denies any criminal conduct and will vigorously fight these allegations in court.”
The indictment accuses Menendez of “promising and using his influence and power” to pressure President Joe Biden to appoint a U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey who Menendez “believed could be influenced by Menendez with regarding the federal criminal prosecution of Fred Daibes. .’