Embattled Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey gave an impassioned response on the Senate floor Tuesday pushing back against the latest superseding indictment that alleges he was involved with federal bribes in exchange for various gifts and cash to benefit Qatar.
“Sensationalized allegations are now creating a rising call for my resignation, despite my innocence and before a single piece of evidence has even been introduced in a court of law,” Menendez said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Menendez repeatedly asserted his innocence and claimed “there is no evidence” of the gifts and payments he allegedly received as a suspected foreign agent.
“In fact, there will be at trial, a full explanation of what is the truth about those issues, a truth that proves I am entirely innocent of the charges,” he said.
Menendez accused federal prosecutors of exaggerating the allegations to tarnish his image in the media and prejudice potential jurors and said it would have a “chilling effect” on foreign engagement involvement among other members of Congress.
“I understand how the government’s accusations may be in the most sensational and purposely damning way possible,” Menendez continued. “It’s misuse of the grand jury system to bring superseding indictments, even though it had all the information they allege from the beginning, can be a source of concern and content by some of my colleagues, the political establishment, and most importantly, the people of New Jersey… I am suffering greatly as a result of what they have done after 50 years of public service – this is not how I wanted to celebrate my golden jubilee.”
According to the latest superseding indictment unsealed last week, Menendez is now accused of accepting bribes and gifts in exchange for helping to benefit Qatar as part of a corruption scheme from 2021 through 2023, one year longer than originally thought, the Justice Department said.
Menendez is already facing federal charges for allegedly acting as a foreign agent and accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes to benefit the Egyptian government through his power and influence as a senator.
Menendez, along with his wife Nadine and three other New Jersey businessmen – Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes – were first charged in the federal bribery scheme on Sept. 23. All have pleaded not guilty.
The Democrat senator allegedly made several public statements supporting the Qatari government and then provided them to Daibes so he could share them with the Qatari investor and a Qatari government official. The investor negotiated a million-dollar investment real estate project with Daibes.
Among the new allegations is that Menendez and hs wife enriched themselves with cash, gold bars and a luxury car. The couple received the gifts in exchange for Menendez using his influence to induce the Qatari Investment Co. to invest with Daibes, prosecutors say.
FBI and IRS criminal investigators allege that Menendez and his wife accepted several gold bars and other gifts from Daibes, a New Jersey developer and former bank chairman accused of banking crimes. Menendez allegedly worked to help appoint a prosecutor who would be sympathetic to Daibes, according to the indictment.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and David Spunt contributed to this report.
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