Senator Robert Menendez may be in legal hot water, but he has no intention of stepping away from Capitol Hill anytime soon.
Last week, Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were federally charged with bribery. The couple is accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in exchange for using the lawmaker’s influence to enrich New Jersey-based businessmen and members of the Egyptian government. More specifically, the indictment alleges that the couple received more than $400,000, “cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and other items of value.” Despite the indictment, Menendez maintains his innocence.
“I remain focused on continuing this important work and will not be distracted by baseless allegations,” Menendez said, according to NBC News.
The New Jersey lawmaker’s denial has not stopped his colleagues from calling for his resignation.
“The situation is quite unfortunate, but I do believe that it is in the best interest for Sen. Menendez to resign in this moment. As you mentioned, consistency matters. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I believe the Senator deserves his day in court, with a presumption of innocence. That said, given the gravity of the allegations, I believe it will be difficult for the Senator to carry out his responsibilities. For the good of the state, he should step aside as he focuses on his defense,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer added.
On Monday, Menendez doubled down on his desire to remain in office as he faces federal charges.
“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator,” he said.
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba.”