In his political home county of Hudson, on a grey, murky Jersey morning that contributed a lurid mood, indicted U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) defiantly announced his intention to stick around, though he stopped short of outright saying he intends to run for reelection in 2024.
“The allegations leveled against me are just that, allegations,” said Menendez, standing at a podium in front of a red wall inside Hudson County Community College with “regular folks” – in the vernacular of today’s political establishment – in support. “I recognize this will be the biggest fight yet.”
He anticipates exoneration.
“The court of public opinion is no substitute for our justice system,” added New Jersey’s senior senator. “Prosecutors get it wrong sometimes. Sadly, I know that. …Others have rushed to judgement because they see a political opportunity. All I ask for… is to pause and allow for all the facts to be presented.”
“I have remained on the side of civil rights in Egypt and everywhere in the world,” he said. “My record is clear and consistent in holding Egypt accountable. … I have always worked to hold accountable those countries, including Egypt.”
He described “thousands of dollars from [his] personal savings accounts.”
“These were monies drawn from my personal savings account.”
“Today, I’m surrounded by everyday people who know me,” Menendez said. “I have fought for working people. I’ve always advocated for the right of workers to organize … They are because I never relented.”
The gun lobby.
“They are here,” Menendez insisted. “Throughout my career I have stood against authoritarian regimes.”
Menendez delivered his remarks in English and Spanish and did not take questions from the media.
Numerous Democratic Party leaders, including Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic State Party Chairman LeRoy Jones, told Menendez he needs to step aside.
But Menendez doesn’t want to leave, and today doubled down.
Robert Menendez Allegedly Agreed to Use His Official Position to Benefit Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, Fred Daibes, and the Government of Egypt in Exchange for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Bribes to Menendez and His Wife Nadine Menendez, Which Included Gold Bars, Cash, and a Luxury Convertible
Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that an Indictment was unsealed this morning charging U.S. Senator ROBERT MENENDEZ, his wife NADINE MENENDEZ, a/k/a “Nadine Arslanian,” and three New Jersey businessmen, WAEL HANA, a/k/a “Will Hana,” JOSE URIBE, and FRED DAIBES, with participating in a years-long bribery scheme. The Indictment alleges that MENENDEZ and his wife, NADINE MENENDEZ, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes from HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES in exchange for MENENDEZ’s agreement to use his official position to protect and enrich them and to benefit the Government of Egypt. Among other things, MENENDEZ agreed and sought to pressure a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an effort to protect a business monopoly granted to HANA by Egypt, disrupt a criminal case undertaken by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office related to associates of URIBE, and disrupt a federal criminal prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey against DAIBES. MENENDEZ, NADINE MENENDEZ, HANA, URIBE, and DAIBES are expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As the grand jury charged, between 2018 and 2022, Senator Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes – three New Jersey businessmen who collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value – in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt. My Office is firmly committed to rooting out corruption, without fear or favor, and without any regard to partisan politics. We will continue to do so.”