Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty to bribery charges Wednesday during his arraignment at a Manhattan federal court, according to multiple reports.
Menendez and his wife were charged with three counts each stemming from his alleged acceptance of bribes, which included stacks of cash hidden in his home, a luxury vehicle, home mortgage payments and “over one hundred thousand dollars” worth of gold bars, to aid the Egyptian government and enrich three New Jersey businessmen, according to the indictment. His wife, Nadine Menendez, also appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.
Menendez was released on $100,000 bond, barred from overseas travel not connected with official Senate business and told to refrain from contacting co-defendants who are not his wife, according to ABC News. Additionally, he was instructed not to contact Senate staff with personal knowledge of the case’s facts without a lawyer present.
Two of his co-defendants, businessmen Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, also pleaded not guilty Wednesday, according to NBC News. Co-defendant Wael Hana pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday, according to the docket.
After he was indicted Friday, Menendez immediately denied allegations, claiming that those behind the indictment campaign “simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator.” During a press conference Monday, Menendez claimed that the cash found stuffed in his clothing, closets and safe was taken from his savings account. (RELATED: ‘Eyebrow Raising’ Details In Bob Menendez Indictment Complicate Defense, Legal Experts Say)
Senator Menendez arrives at Manhattan federal court for his arraignment on bribery and extortion charges pic.twitter.com/QmWwsSmex1
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) September 27, 2023
The senator, who temporarily stepped down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is increasingly facing calls to resign from other Democrats, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Legal experts previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the details presented in the indictment will make it difficult to defend.
“I think Senator Menendez is headed for prison,” criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the DCNF. “He’s facing a maximum of 45 years in prison so this may be effectively a life sentence for him.”
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