Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is set to appear in federal court on Monday, where he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to a conspiracy charge. This new charge alleges that Menendez acted as an agent of the Egyptian government during his tenure as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The 69-year-old Democrat stepped down from his influential position as the head of the Senate committee after being charged last month. Prosecutors claim that Senator Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, accepted bribes, including cash, gold bars, and a luxury car over the past five years from three New Jersey businessmen. These bribes were allegedly given in exchange for various corrupt acts.
While other defendants entered not guilty pleas to a superseding indictment last week, Senator Menendez was granted a delay in his arraignment due to his Senate duties. Throughout the process, he has maintained his innocence, emphasizing his lifelong loyalty to the United States.
One significant addition to the rewritten indictment is the charge alleging a conspiracy involving Senator Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen. This charge asserts that they conspired to have Menendez act as an agent of the Egyptian government and its officials. As a member of Congress, Menendez is prohibited from acting as an agent for a foreign government.
The allegations against Menendez include passing information to Egyptian authorities about the staff at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, ghostwriting a letter on Egypt’s behalf aimed at influencing fellow senators, and urging the U.S. State Department to become more involved in international negotiations to block a dam project that Egypt opposed, among other allegations.
Last week, Nadine Menendez and businessman Wael Hana pleaded not guilty to the superseding indictment. Both individuals are charged with conspiring with Senator Menendez to use him as an agent of the government of Egypt and its officials, a charge that could carry a potential penalty of up to five years in prison.
Senator Menendez has thus far resisted calls from over 30 Democrats for his resignation. The case continues to garner significant attention as it unfolds in federal court.