Updated Sep 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Menendez pleads not guilty to bribery charges in federal court

Bob Menendez arrives at court

Bob Menendez arrives at a Manhattan court on Sept. 27 in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges in an alleged bribery scheme in a New York City court, multiple outlets reported.

Why it matters: Menendez — who has resisted mounting calls to resign from within his own party — has now been indicted twice in a corruption case in the last decade.

  • He and his wife Nadine Menendez, who was also arraigned and pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday, were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
  • Prosecutors allege Menendez worked with a trio of New Jersey businessmen, using his position to enrich the co-conspirators as well as the government of Egypt. Three other co-defendants reportedly pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
  • The Democrat, who is serving his third Senate term and up for reelection next year, has insisted that he is innocent and will be exonerated.

Details: Menendez was released on a $100,000 bond Wednesday.

  • The judge ordered him to surrender his personal passports — though he'll be allowed to keep his official one — and to avoid contact with any of the co-defendants in the case except his wife, per AP.
  • Nadine Menendez was released on a $250,000 bond and must also surrender her passport. She was also ordered to restrict her travel to parts of New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida, per CNN.

Catch up quick: Menendez has faced growing calls to resign from fellow Democrats after he was indicted on federal bribery charges last week.

  • Menendez was indicted after FBI special agents discovered approximately $500,000 of cash stuffed into envelopes and closets at his New Jersey home, as well over $100,000 worth of gold.
  • Menendez on Monday disputed that the cash was part of the alleged bribery scheme, saying the money was from his "personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba.
  • Egyptian-American businessman Wael Hana, another of Menendez's co-defendants in the case, pleaded not guilty in federal court on Tuesday.

Flashback: Menendez was previously indicted on unrelated federal bribery and corruption charges in 2015. The case ultimately ended in a mistrial in 2017.

Of note: Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) has already announced a primary challenge against the embattled senator, who last week stepped down his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Go deeper: Exclusive: New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy warms to Senate run

Editor's note: This story is developing and will be updated.

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