Sen. Bob Menendez To Appear In Court As He Defies Calls To Resign

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is due in courtroom Wednesday to reply to costs that he used his highly effective submit to secretly advance Egyptian pursuits and do favors for New Jersey businessmen in change for bribes of money and gold bars.

The New Jersey Democrat will make his first look in a federal courtroom in Manhattan amid rising calls from colleagues that he resign from Congress.

A defiant Menendez — who was pressured to step down as chairman of the International Relations Committee after the indictment was introduced final week — says allegations that he abused his energy to line his personal pockets are baseless. He has stated he’s assured he will likely be exonerated and has no intention of leaving the Senate.

It’s the second corruption case in a decade in opposition to Menendez, whose final trial involving completely different allegations ended with jurors failing to succeed in a verdict in 2017.

Fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker on Tuesday joined the requires Menendez to resign, saying in a press release that the indictment accommodates ”surprising allegations of corruption and particular, disturbing particulars of wrongdoing.” Round half of Senate Democrats have now stated that Menendez ought to step down, together with a number of working for reelection subsequent 12 months.

Additionally set to be arraigned Wednesday is Menendez’s spouse, Nadine, who prosecutors say performed a key function in gathering a whole lot of hundreds of {dollars} value of bribes from three New Jersey businessmen searching for assist from the highly effective lawmaker. An legal professional for Nadine Menendez has stated she additionally denies the allegations and can struggle the fees.

Two of the businessmen — Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes — are additionally anticipated to be arraigned. The third man, Wael Hana, pleaded not responsible Tuesday to costs together with conspiracy to commit bribery. Hana was arrested at New York’s Kennedy airport Tuesday after returning voluntarily from Egypt to face the fees, and was ordered freed pending trial.

Authorities say they discovered practically $500,000 in money — a lot of it hidden in clothes and closets — in addition to greater than $100,000 in gold bars in a search of the New Jersey dwelling Menendez, 69, shares along with his spouse.

In his first public remarks for the reason that indictment, Menendez stated Monday that the money present in his dwelling was drawn from his private financial savings accounts over time, and which he saved available for emergencies.

One of many envelopes full of money discovered at his dwelling, nonetheless, bore Daibes’ DNA and was marked with the true property developer’s return tackle, in response to prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Hana promised to place Menendez’s spouse on his firm’s payroll in a low-or-no-show job in change for Menendez utilizing his influential submit to facilitate international army gross sales and financing to Egypt. Prosecutors allege Hana additionally paid $23,000 towards her dwelling mortgage, wrote $30,000 checks to her consulting firm, promised her envelopes of money, despatched her train tools and purchased among the gold bars that had been discovered within the couple’s dwelling.

The indictment alleges repeated actions by Menendez to learn Egypt, regardless of U.S. authorities misgivings over the nation’s human rights file that in recent times have prompted Congress to connect restrictions on help.

Prosecutors, who detailed conferences and dinners between Menendez and Egyptian officers, say Menendez gave delicate U.S. authorities info to Egyptian officers and ghost wrote a letter to fellow senators encouraging them to carry a maintain on $300 million in help to Egypt, one of many high recipients of U.S. army assist.

Prosecutors have accused Menendez of pressuring a U.S. agricultural official to cease opposing a profitable deal that gave Hana’s firm a monopoly over certifying that imported meat met non secular requirements.

Prosecutors additionally allege Menendez tried to intervene in felony investigations involving associates. In a single case, he pushed to put in a federal prosecutor in New Jersey whom Menendez believed he may affect to derail a felony case in opposition to Daibes, prosecutors allege.

Richer reported from Boston.

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