New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and some Democrats in Congress on Friday called on Sen. Bob Menendez, a fellow Democrat, to resign as he faces indictment on bribery charges alongside his wife Nadine Menendez. The pair are accused of having “engaged in a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey associates and businessmen.”
In a statement on Friday, Murphy called the allegations in the indictment “disturbing.”
“These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” he continued. “Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process.”
The governor added that the allegations are serious enough that they “compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state,” and called for the senator’s resignation.
Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) also called for the of end Menendez’s 17-year career as a senator following his indictment. “It doesn’t matter what your job title is or your politics — no one in America is above the law,” Kim said in a statement to The Hill. “The people of New Jersey absolutely need to know the truth of what happened, and I hope the judicial system works thoroughly and quickly to bring this truth to light.”
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) was the first democrat to call for the senator’s resignation. In an interview with CNN, Phillips said, “Yes, I am a Democrat and so is Sen. Menendez, but based on what I have seen, I am disappointed and yes, I think he should resign.”
Menendez responded to the calls for his resignation in a statement in which he insisted, “I am not going anywhere.”
The counts against Menendez include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion. The co-defendants in the case have been identified as Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes.
Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege that Menendez and his wife “agreed to and did accept hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a Senator to seek to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt.”
Prosecutors claim the favors included providing sensitive government information to Egyptian officials.
Menendez is also accused of using his using his power as a U.S senator to influence the president’s choice of a federal prosecutor in New Jersey who could be swayed into helping him disrupt a criminal case against Daibes.
A search by federal agents of the Menendez’s home and safe deposit box found gold bars worth over $100,000, a new Mercedes-Benz convertible in the garage, and over $480,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes, closets, and the pockets of a jacket emblazoned with “Bob Menendez” and the Senate seal.
Menendez slammed the federal prosecutors who indicted him in a separate statement released Friday.
“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent,” he wrote. “They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met. Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction. Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals.”
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