Bob Menendez remains defiant amid bribery charges


Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey remained defiant on Monday after being indicted on bribery charges at the end of last week, saying he believes he will be exonerated as he responded to some of the specific charges and evidence outlined by prosecutors.

At a news conference, Menendez offered some of his first public defense against some of the evidence discovered by investigators during their search of his home, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, which he argued he had on hand for emergencies and described as an “old fashioned” habit derived from his family’s experience in Cuba.

“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation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,” said Menendez. “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.”

According to the indictment, searches of Menendez’ home and safe deposit box that federal agents conducted in 2022 turned up nearly $500,000 in cash, including in envelopes inside jackets emblazoned with Menendez’s name.

Prosecutors say some of the envelopes had the fingerprints or DNA of one of the business contacts from whom the senator is accused of taking bribes.

Menendez accused those who “rushed to judgment” of doing so for “political expediency.” Multiple members of Congress’ New Jersey delegation have called on him to resign, and Rep. Andy Kim has announced that he is running for Menendez’s seat.

“I recognize this will be the biggest fight yet,” Menendez said at a news conference, referencing the legal battle ahead. “But as I have stated throughout this whole process, I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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