Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey claimed that he kept hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gold bullion in his home because of Cuban property confiscations, according to a press conference he held on Monday after his indictment on federal corruption charges.
Menendez, the three-term senior senator from New Jersey, was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and extortion for allegedly receiving money from three businessmen in exchange for steering U.S. foreign policy to favor Egypt. In a press conference on Monday, Menendez defended himself against the charges and explained that the money and gold found in his home were drawn from his savings and kept “due to a history of property confiscations in Cuba.” (RELATED: The Details Of Bob Menendez’s Alleged Bribery Scheme Are Outright Cartoonish)
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my savings account, which I have kept for contingencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” he said. “These were monies drawn from my personal savings”
Sen. Menendez speaks amidst allegations of bribery/corruption – Claims he will be exonerated
MENENDEZ: “When all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be the New Jersey’s senior Senator.” pic.twitter.com/P1BlAYSDox
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 25, 2023
Though the communist-led government of Cuba has been known to confiscate the property of citizens, Menendez was born in the United States and has lived in the country for his entire life. One of the envelopes in which the money was discovered had DNA matching a co-defendant of Menendez, Fred Diabes, who allegedly acted as a conduit for bribes with Egyptian money.
“To those who have rushed to judgment, you have done so based on a limited set of facts framed by the prosecutors in the most salacious way possible,” Menendez said. “The court of public opinion is no substitute for our justice system … I will not only be totally exonerated but also New Jersey’s senior senator.”
Menendez said that he was entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. “I ask for nothing more and deserve nothing less,” he said, while calling on detractors to “pause and allow for all the facts to be presented.”
Regarding the allegations in the indictment over his actions favoring Egypt, Menendez claimed that he had attempted to hold Egypt accountable for alleged human rights violations during his tenure. The indictment claims that Menendez leaked sensitive information about the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to Egypt’s government and ghost-wrote letters for the Egyptian government to send to his Senate colleagues to persuade them to withdraw objections to U.S. military aid to the country.
“I have remained steadfast on the side of civil society and human rights defenders in Egypt,” he said. “My record is clear and consistent in holding Egypt accountable for its unjust detentions of American citizens and others … and efforts that have eroded the independence of its judiciary.”
Menendez also claimed that he had directly confronted Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, regarding U.S. military aid to the country. “In 2019, I met with El-Sisi at the MSC and emphasized the level of repression inside Egypt affecting our security cooperation and purchase of a Russian missile system … I placed holds on four military sales funding to Egypt.”
Menendez did not say whether he would seek reelection to a fourth term in 2024, though he reiterated his refusal to resign his seat. “Some of the people calling for my resignation say I’ve lost trust. They couldn’t be more wrong,” he said, before saying that he would return to Washington, D.C., this week to resume his duties in the chamber.
Menendez did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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