Bob Menendez Doubles Down In Senate Floor Speech After New Indictment Brings Even More Bribery Allegations


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey doubled down on his innocence in a Tuesday floor speech following a superseding indictment that brought additional bribery charges last week relating to positive statements he made about Qatar.

Menendez was first indicted in late September over allegedly receiving lavish gifts in return for influence in the upper chamber, and received superseding charges the following month where he was accused of acting as a foreign agent to Egypt. The senator insisted he hadn’t received anything from Qatar “to promote their image or issues” after he was hit with the additional bribery allegations on Jan. 2, and maintained his innocence more broadly during the floor speech.

“Almost everyone, including my friends in the press who have reported on it, haven’t read the indictment. They’ve only taken the government’s sensational narrative of what the accusations are as truth. They haven’t sought facts of the allegations,” Menendez said. “I’m innocent, and I intend to prove my innocence. Not just for me, but for the precedent this case will set for you and future members of the Senate.”

Federal prosecutors alleged that Menendez received lavish gifts, including expensive wrist watches, in return for giving positive statements about Qatar. The senator addressed the alleged exchange during his floor speech, arguing that the prosecutors have “no proof of receiving any such gift.” (RELATED: Prosecutors Are Reportedly Bringing Fresh Charges Against Bob Menendez)

George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley reacted to Menendez’s speech on social media platform X, which he called “a bizarre scene.”

“It is a glimpse of his defense played out on the Senate floor. He dismissed the gifts as virtual trivialities. Menendez, as in the past, is unlikely to convince many,” Turley wrote.

A long list of elected officials in New Jersey, as well as a host of Democratic senators, have called on Menendez to resign since he was first indicted. Menendez has hand waved such calls, but did temporarily step down from his position as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The senator once again rebuffed calls for his resignation following the superseding indictment, arguing during the speech that he deserves “due process.”

“I am, however, alarmed that the greatest and most ardent defenders of the Constitution in this body are among the most vociferous in calling for my resignation,” Menendez said. “They would deny me due process and undermine the fundamental principle of our law — that in America, you are innocent until proven otherwise by a jury of your peers. Members of the Senate are not above the law, though, they are not beneath it either.”

Menendez will face stiff opposition from his own party if he runs for another term in the upper chamber. Democratic Rep. Andy Kim and New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy are both running in the primary where Menendez has been polling in the single digits since the charges surfaced.

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