US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has been indicted by US prosecutors on Thursday for allegedly acting as a foreign agent of the Egyptian government. These charges are in addition to the previous corruption-related charges against Menendez and are related to the same incidents.
According to the indictment, Menendez is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes from Egyptian businessmen in various forms, including cash, gold, vehicles, mortgage payments, and compensation for a no-show job. In September, officials executed a search warrant at Menendez’s home and discovered luxury vehicles, gold bars, and over $480,000 in cash that was found stuffed into envelopes and safes.
Prosecutors claim that in exchange for these bribes, Menendez promised to take and took “a series of official acts and breaches of official duty” that benefitted Egypt. These acts allegedly included providing sensitive government information to Egypt, protecting business monopolies, interfering in New Jersey and federal investigations.
Menendez is accused of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which regulates individuals in the US who act on behalf of foreign powers. As a public official, Menendez is prohibited from acting as a foreign agent, even if he had registered properly.
The new indictment cites past statements from Menendez where he discussed the prohibition on public officials acting as foreign agents and expressed the belief that those who engage in such conduct should be “held to account.”
These charges come after Menendez was previously indicted for various corruption-related charges. More than half of Senate Democrats have called for Menendez to resign, including New Jersey’s other Democratic Senator, Cory Booker. Menendez’s primary challenges expulsion.
Menendez has not yet commented on these new charges, but he previously denied the corruption charges brought against him in 2015, which resulted in a mistrial.