TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Senator. Bob Menendez’s argument of new corruption charges brought by federal authorities against his wife, him and business associates on Friday showed that he’s reverting to the same stand that he did when facing federal allegations a decade back.
An elected senator for three terms who held the office at all levels in the state’s rocky political landscape. Menendez promised to defend the latest charges and challenged the legitimacy of the charges.
In a similar way to the language that he employed in 2017 following a mistrial in Federal corruption allegations, the judge framed the indictment of Friday in terms of political ramifications and promised to work on his case as a senator. Senate.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez stated in an interview. It was a reference to the previous year, six years ago in which Menendez made a speech to “those who were digging my political grave” and assured that he would never forget who they were.
In contrast to his previous federal corruption trial, however the state’s Democratic mainstream support of Menendez fell on the day before.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, the leaders of the Democratic-led Legislature along with the State Party chairman have demanded his resignation.
“The accusations are so grave that they could affect the Senator Menendez effectively represent the citizens of the state. So, I am requesting for his resignation immediately,” Murphy said in an announcement.
Many who have been friends with Menendez for a long time they have praised his tenacity and have said that he’s not going anywhere without a fight at least for the moment.
“Sen. Menendez is likely to must decide what’s most beneficial for his family and himself. He’s an ardent fighter. I’ve never met anyone who is as hard as he is.” Steve Sweeney, the former Democratic Senate president, told in a telephone interview. “We all could say, ‘Leave.’ It’s not our decision, and it wouldn’t be fair to tell someone to leave if they feel they haven’t done anything wrong.”
Menendez who is 69 has been a political force for almost five decades.
Son of Cuban immigrants and a lawyer by trade the lawyer was an Union City, New Jersey school board member by age 20. He was there prior to his graduation from law school and later became the city’s mayor and is still a resident with deep roots.
His biography reveals his claim that he sought to tackle corruption in the early stages of his political career. He testified in court against Union City officials and building his reputation as a hard-working. Then the politician was selected to state Assembly and then to in the state Senate before advancing towards his first position in the U.S. House.
Menendez was appointed the U.S. senator in 2006 when the seat was opened following the resignation of the incumbent Jon Corzine became governor. Menendez was elected by popular vote in 2006 and then again in 2012 and 2018. He was chairman of the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee beginning in 2013, but he was sacked from his position following the initial indictment. He reclaimed the chair when federal prosecutors refused to extend the indictment that resulted in an indictment that was later dismissed as a mistrial.
The following day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that Menendez “temporarily” stepped down from his position as chairman until the issue is solved.
The 2018 race was significant because it took place just days following the mistrial in 2017 and after the Republican Party had poured millions to defeat him. He won and hasn’t even spoken of retirement.
“People have underestimated Bob Menendez continuously throughout his career and have almost always been surprised at the end when he emerges victorious,” said Benjamin Dworkin, director of the Rowan Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship.
Menendez who’s wife Nadine was also charged as part of the Friday indictment He was married in 2020. The couple started dating in 2018 and were engaged in 2019 after they met in the IHOP at Union City, a frequent restaurant frequented by Menendez.
The father of two is from an earlier marriage – his daughter Alicia Menendez, a television anchor and author as well as his son Rob Menendez, who was elected to Congress in the last election. In the statement, Rob Menendez stood by his father and said he was convinced that the father’s “integrity and values.”
Within Congress, Menendez has been an active advocate for reforming his immigration policy, protecting abortion rights, as well as supporting important Biden administration policies like for instance, the 2021 Inflation Reduction Act.
His left-leaning policies make him an ideal choice to New Jersey, which has more than one million than registered Democrats than Republicans according to Former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg told me. She added that his left-leaning politics can be a big factor in his longevity. In addition, since he’s been a part of public for years and people are familiar with him and are supportive of him, she added.
However, she did sound beady about his political future.
“I believe that it is serious. I think there’s going to be some serious decisions taken. I believe there’s a need for the making of serious decisions about how the government will handle the situation,” she said.
Requests for comment from the governor or party spokespersons did not get a response Friday.
When Menendez was indicted, police claimed he used his political influence to aid an Florida eye doctor, who provided him with lavish gifts and contributions to his campaign.
It was alleged that he had been attempting to pressure officials to settle the Medicare billing dispute to benefit his close friend Dr. Salomon M. Melgen. He also arranged visas for the doctors’ girlfriends, and also helping to secure a contract that where the doctor was required to supply ports-screening devices to Dominican Republic. He pleaded innocence at the time and was not charged again following the jury was deadlocked in the year 2017.
The new charges announced on Friday claim Menendez engaged in numerous actions in order to help Egypt in spite of US. government concerns about the country’s human rights violations, for instance writing letters to senators from other parties, urging them to lift the hold on $300 million of aid to Egypt and also distributing confidential information Egyptian officials on military matters as per the indictment.
The accused also tried to stop the criminal investigation against a businessman advocating for the appointment of Philip R. Sellinger to become his U.S. attorney for New Jersey. Menendez believed that he could influence Sellinger as prosecutors claimed they said, and tried to make use of his position authority to interfere in an investigation that was conducted of the New Jersey attorney general’s office.