Tuesday, September 26, 2023  
Weather |  Futures |  Market News |  Headline News |  DTN Ag Headlines |  Portfolio |  Crops |  Farm Life 
 Quotes iFrame
Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
Sen. Menendez Rejects Calls to Resign  09/26 06:13


   UNION CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey 
defiantly pushed back against federal corruption charges on Monday, saying 
nearly half a million dollars in cash authorities found in his home was from 
his personal savings, not from bribes, and was on hand for emergencies.

   Rejecting rising calls for him to resign, the influential chairman of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he believed he'd be cleared of charges 
that he took cash and gold in illegal exchange for helping Egypt and New Jersey 
business associates.

   "I recognize this will be the biggest fight yet, but as I have stated 
throughout this whole process, 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," Menendez said at Hudson County Community College's campus in 
Union City, where he grew up.

   He did not respond to questions and did not say whether he would seek 
reelection next year.

   Addressing allegations in the indictment unsealed Friday that authorities 
found cash stuffed in envelopes and clothing at his home, Menendez said that 
stemmed from his parents' fear of confiscation of funds from their time in Cuba.

   "This may seem old fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal 
savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 
years," he said.

   Authorities recovered about 10 envelopes with tens of thousands of dollars 
in cash that had the fingerprints of one of the other defendants in the case on 
them, according to the indictment.

   Menendez also addressed his relationship with Egypt, which plays a central 
role in the indictment against him, suggesting he's been tough on the country 
over its detention of Americans and other "human rights abuses."

   "If you look at my actions related to Egypt during the period described in 
this indictment and throughout my whole career, my record is clear and 
consistent in holding Egypt accountable," he said.

   Prosecutors say he met with Egyptian military and intelligence officials, 
passed along non-public information about employees at the U.S. Embassy in 
Cairo and ghostwrote a letter on behalf of Egypt asking his Senate colleagues 
to release a hold on $300 million worth of aid. He did not directly address 
those allegations Monday.

   The state's Democratic leadership, including Gov. Phil Murphy, the state 
party chairmen and leaders of the Legislature, along with some of Menendez's 
congressional colleagues, are calling on him to resign

   In Washington, however, where his party holds a bare Senate majority, some 
of Menendez's Democratic colleagues have stopped short of urging him to give up 
his seat, notably Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, and Majority Whip 
Dick Durbin of Illinois.

   Even though Schumer has not called for Menendez to step down, other members 
of his caucus have. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Vermont Sen. Peter Welch called 
for his resignation on Monday, following Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman on 

   Menendez did, however, step down as required as chairman of the Foreign 
Relations Committee, Schumer said on Friday, when the indictment was unsealed.

   If he seeks reelection, Menendez will face at least one challenger in a 
primary next year after Democratic Rep. Andy Kim announced over the weekend 
that he will run for the Senate because of the charges against the state's 
senior senator.

   Menendez's reelection campaign could face significant hurdles besides the 
criminal indictment, the second one he has faced in eight years, in light of 
opposition from state party leaders.

   If the Democratic Party abandons Menendez, he could lose a potent benefit of 
party support: the so-called party line, or preferred ballot placement in the 
primary, widely regarded as a significant boost to incumbents and those with 
establishment backing.

   Menendez has denied any wrongdoing in the federal case against him, his wife 
and three of their business associates. In an emailed statement last week, he 
accused prosecutors of misrepresenting "the normal work of a congressional 
office" and said he will not allow his work in the Senate to be distracted by 
"baseless allegations." A lawyer for his wife said she "denies any criminal 
conduct and will vigorously contest these charges in court."

   He and Nadine Menendez are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of 
dollars in cash, gold and a luxury car from a trio of New Jersey businessmen 
for a variety of corrupt acts.

   The indictment said Menendez used his clout to interfere in three criminal 
cases, pressured U.S. agriculture regulators to protect an associate's business 
interests, and used his position as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee 
to influence U.S. policy on Egypt.

   Federal agents who searched his home in 2022 found more than $480,000 in 
cash stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe, and 
gold bars worth more than $100,000, prosecutors said. Another $70,000 was 
discovered inside his wife's safety deposit box, they said.

   Some Menendez supporters attended the news conference .Among them was Manny 
Contreras, a resident of nearby Passaic County, who said he came to show his 
support for Menendez and had been voting for him for years.

   "It's a big problem for the Latino community, we don't want to see him go, 
we have to give him the benefit of the doubt," Contreras said.

   He said if Menendez were found guilty, he would have to reconsider his 
support, but because of the good things in the Menendez's long career, he was 
willing to let the process play out.

Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN