TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Sen. Bob Menendez’s protection in opposition to the brand new Federal corruption charges are against himHis spouse and enterprise companions revealed Friday that he’s adopting the identical defiant stance he took when dealing with federal costs almost a decade in the past.
Menendez, a three-term senator who has served in any respect ranges of New Jersey’s turbulent political panorama, vowed to battle the newest set of costs and questioned the validity of the indictment.
In approx The same language he used in 2017 After a mistrial on federal corruption costs, he forged the indictment on Friday in political phrases and vowed to proceed his work within the Senate.
“Over time, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly tried to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez stated in an announcement. It was an echo of what occurred six years in the past, when he addressed “those that had been digging my political grave” and informed them he would always remember who they had been.
It is a signal, those that know Menendez stated, that he is not going anyplace and not using a battle proper now.
“Sen. Menendez must resolve what’s greatest for him and his household. He is a fighter. I’ve by no means met anybody as powerful as him,” Steve Sweeney, the previous Democratic Senate president, stated in a cellphone interview. We will all say: ‘Go away.’ This isn’t our determination, and it could not be truthful to ask somebody to depart in the event that they really feel they’ve carried out nothing unsuitable.
Menendez, 69, has been politically alive for almost 5 many years.
The son of Cuban immigrants and a lawyer by coaching, he was on the varsity board in Union Metropolis, New Jersey, at age 20 — earlier than graduating from legislation faculty — after which turned mayor of the town, the place he nonetheless has deep expertise within the discipline. Root.
His biography notes the truth that he wished to battle corruption early in his political profession, testified in opposition to Union Metropolis officers, and constructed a fame as a hardliner. From there, he was elected to the State Meeting, then the State Senate, earlier than heading to the US Home of Representatives.
Menendez was appointed to function a U.S. Senator in 2006 when the seat opened up after incumbent Jon Corzine turned governor. He was straight elected in 2006 and once more in 2012 and 2018. He served as chairman of the highly effective Senate Overseas Relations Committee beginning in 2013, however misplaced that place after the earlier indictment. He regained his place after federal prosecutors didn’t renew costs in that case, which resulted in a mistrial.
The 2018 contest was noteworthy as a result of it got here straight after the 2017 mistrial, and the GOP poured hundreds of thousands into defeating him. He was victorious and made no trace of retirement.
“Folks have persistently underestimated Bob Menendez all through his profession, and they’re all the time stunned in the long run when he emerges victorious,” stated Benjamin Dworkin, director of the Rowan Institute for Public Coverage and Citizenship.
Menendez, whose spouse Nadine was additionally charged in Friday’s indictment, married in 2020. The couple started courting in 2018 and bought engaged in 2019 after assembly at an IHOP in Union Metropolis, a spot Menendez frequents.
He has two kids from a earlier relationship, daughter Alicia Menendez, a tv information anchor and creator, and son Rob Menendez, who was elected to Congress final yr. In an announcement, Rob Menendez stood by his father, saying he believed in his father’s “integrity and values.”
In Congress, Menendez has been a powerful advocate for immigration reform, securing abortion rights and supporting key insurance policies of the Biden administration, such because the 2021 inflation-reducing legislation.
Former Senate Majority Chief Loretta Weinberg stated his left-leaning insurance policies make him slot in New Jersey, which has greater than 1 million extra registered Democrats than Republicans, and is an enormous think about his survival. As well as, he has been in public life for many years, and other people know and help him, she added.
However she appeared cautious about his political prospects.
“I feel it seems to be very critical. I feel critical choices will probably be made. I feel critical choices have to be made about how the social gathering offers with all of this.”
Messages searching for remark from the governor and social gathering spokespeople weren’t instantly returned Friday.
The primary time Menendez was charged, authorities stated he used his political affect to assist a Florida ophthalmologist who gave him beneficiant items and marketing campaign contributions.
He was accused of pressuring officers to resolve a Medicare billing dispute in favor of his buddy Dr. Salomon Melgen, securing visas for the physician’s girlfriends and serving to to guard a contract the physician needed to provide port inspection tools to the Dominican Republic. He was subsequently declared harmless and was not charged once more after a jury deadlocked in 2017.
The brand new set of costs unveiled on Friday allege that Menendez repeatedly took actions on behalf of Egypt regardless of the US. The indictment acknowledged that the federal government’s considerations concerning the nation’s human rights report, together with writing a ghost letter to their colleagues within the Senate encouraging them to elevate the embargo on $300 million in support to Egypt, in addition to passing private info to Egyptian officers about navy points.
He’s additionally accused of making an attempt to impede the felony case in opposition to a businessman who helps the appointment of Philip R. Selinger to be US Lawyer for New Jersey. Prosecutors stated Menendez believed he may affect Selinger, and in addition tried to make use of his place to intervene in a separate investigation being performed by the New Jersey Lawyer Common’s Workplace.