U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is slated to return to court on Monday, where he is expected to enter a not guilty plea to a conspiracy charge accusing him of acting as an agent of the Egyptian government during his tenure as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The court appearance is scheduled for the afternoon before Judge Sidney H. Stein at federal court in Manhattan.
Menendez, a 69-year-old New Jersey Democrat, voluntarily stepped down from his influential role leading the Senate committee after being charged last month. Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, accepted bribes, including cash, gold bars, and a luxury car, over a five-year period from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for engaging in various corrupt activities.
While other defendants entered not guilty charges to a superseding indictment last week, Senator Menendez was granted a delay in his arraignment to fulfill his Senate duties. He has maintained his innocence, asserting his lifelong loyalty to the United States.
Despite calls from over 30 fellow Democrats for his resignation, Menendez has remained in office.
The revised indictment introduced an additional charge alleging that Menendez, his wife, and one of the businessmen conspired to have the senator act as an agent of the Egyptian government and its officials. This action is prohibited for a member of Congress.
Among the accusations, Menendez is alleged to have provided information to the Egyptian government about U.S. embassy staff in Cairo, drafted a letter on Egypt’s behalf to influence fellow senators, and urged the U.S. State Department to play a more active role in international negotiations regarding a dam project that Egypt opposed.
Last week, Nadine Menendez and businessman Wael Hana entered not guilty pleas to the superseding indictment, both charged with conspiring with Senator Menendez to use him as an agent of the government of Egypt and its officials, potentially carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison.