Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is temporarily stepping down from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following a federal indictment.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Fox News on Friday afternoon that Menendez is temporarily stepping down from the committee following federal bribery charges.
“Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey. He has a right to due process and a fair trial,” Schumer said. “Senator Menendez has rightly decided to step down temporarily from his position as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee until the matter has been resolved.”
The indictment alleges that Menendez and his wife, from at least 2018 through 2022 “engaged in a corrupt relationship” with three New Jersey businessmen.
“Today, I’m announcing that my office has obtained a three count indictment charging Senator Robert Menendez, his wife, Nadine Menendez, and three New Jersey businessmen, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes for bribery offenses,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said at a press conference on Friday morning.
According to the indictment, the couple accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
The alleged bribes included gold, cash, payments toward a mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury car, and “other things of value.”
Menendez had disclosed his family accepted gold bars in 2020.
He said in response to the indictment that prosecutors “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office” and are attempting to “dig my political grave.”
“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent. They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met,” Menendez said.
According to prosecutors, Menendez gave sensitive U.S. government information to Hana, who’s an Egyptian-American businessman, who “secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”
Menendez allegedly pressured an official at the Department of Agriculture with the goal of protecting a business monopoly granted to Hana by the Egyptian government.
In return, Hana allegedly kicked back profits from the monopoly to Menendez, the indictment states.
FBI agents found “approximately $500,000 of cash stuffed into envelopes in closets,” along with cash stuffed in the senator’s jacket pocket while executing a search warrant at Menendez’s residence, Williams said during the press conference.
“My office remains firmly committed to rooting out public corruption without fear or favor and without any regard to partisan politics,” Williams said. “This investigation is very much ongoing. We are not done.”
This is a developing story. Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
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