NEW YORK (WABC) — After a federal grand jury in New York returned an indictment on Friday, prompting calls for his resignation, United States Sen. Bob Menendez is expected to make his first public comments Monday.
The sweeping indictment accuses Menendez and his wife Nadine with taking bribes of cash, gold bars and a luxury car for a range of corrupt acts, including having the Democrat use his influence over foreign affairs to benefit the authoritarian government of Egypt.
Menendez is expected to make his first public comments on the matter in Hudson County, where he grew up and launched his political career.
This is the second time he has been indicted, making him the only senator ever to do so.
A 2015 case against him ended in a mistrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts and a judge acquitted him on some charges. In that case, Menendez was accused of accepting lavish gifts to pressure government officials on behalf of a Florida doctor.
Many of the New Jersey’s top Democrats, including Gov. Murphy are calling for Menendez to resign.
“The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply disturbing,” Murphy said in a statement. “These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system. Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process. However, the alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
In simultaneous statements, state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, state Senate President Nick Scutari and New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman LeRoy Jones all called for the Menendez’s resignation.
The senator was swift in his response, stating “I am not going anywhere.”
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty,” he said. “I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades. This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along. It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere.”
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