Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife were indicted last Friday. The federal indictment accuses Menendez of federal corruption and accepting bribes.
At the heart of the matter are charges that Menendez, who sat on the Foreign Relations Board, accepted bribes from Egyptian officials in exchange for the assurance of billions of dollars in U.S. aid and preferential trade agreements.
Menendez has denied any wrongdoing, but a recent search of his home revealed many unusual and expensive items, including almost $500,000 in cash.
Questionable items found at the senator’s home included several gold bars, a luxury car and expensive home furnishings.
Amid calls to resign, a defiant Menendez held a press conference on Monday, during which he attempted to explain why investigators found $480,000 in cash at his home.
Menendez explained: “For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba.”
The senator continued: “Now, 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. I look forward to addressing other issues at trial.”
The Daily Wire noted that Menendez, 69, “did not address allegations in the indictment that he turned over sensitive U.S. government information to the Egyptian government.”
During the press conference, Menendez spent considerable time highlighting his hard stance on Egypt:
“My record is clear and consistent in holding Egypt accountable for its unjust detention of American citizens and others, its human rights abuses, its deepening relationship with Russia, and efforts that have eroded the independence of the nation’s judiciary among a myriad of concerns,” claimed Menendez.
Charges include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
If convicted, Menendez could receive a sentence of up to 45 years in prison.
Notably, Menendez faced similar charges in 2015. Bribery charges were dropped after a hung jury.
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