Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to foreign agent charge

October 23, 2023

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) pleaded not guilty Monday on a federal charge of alleged conspiracy to act as a foreign agent. 

Menendez has already pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan in late September to corruption and bribery charges. But the Senator was slapped with a superseding indictment on October 12 related to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent.

Menendez and his wife Nadine Menendez who also pleaded not guilty to initial charges in September, are accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” in exchange for political influence.

Prosecutors said the bribes included gold bars, cash, home mortgage payments, a luxury vehicle and compensation for a “low-or-no-show job”—Nadine Menendez was allegedly put on the payroll of New Jersey businessman Wael “Will” Hana, according to the indictment.

Hana and two other businessmen, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, have all been arraigned on charges in the case as well. 

The superseding indictment alleges that Sen. Menendez “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”

Dozens of  Democratic Senators have called on Menendez to leave office, including fellow New Jersey Democrat, Sen. Cory Booker.

Menendez has stepped back from his position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but while defending his presumption of innocence he has insisted he won’t resign from the his seat altogether.

This past Wednesday, though, he reportedly did not attend an all-Senators classified briefing on Israel after some of his colleagues raised concerns that his presence would risk national security.

Menendez is up for reelection in 2024.

According to the Department of Justice, if a defendant is found guilty of acting as a foreign agent, the punishment is imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Bob Menendez news conference, per CSPAN PHOTO: Bob Menendez news conference, Sept 25

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