Indicted Sen. Menendez says he’ll be exonerated, kept cash in clothes for ’emergencies’
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., made his first public remarks since he was indicted on bribery and corruption charges. Menendez said he believes he’ll be exonerated, and that he’ll remain New Jersey’s senior Senator.
Menendez is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for using his Senate seat to help associates and friends. When the feds searched his home, they found $480,000 in cash hidden in clothing, closets and safes.
But the New Jersey Democrat says he legally earned that money during his decades of public service.
“For thirty years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history my family facing confiscation in Cuba,” Menendez said. “Now this may seem old fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years.”
Mendendez said he’ll address the other issues at trial. The Senator did not take questions during his press conference, but said his indictment was written to be as salacious as possible and that prosecutors get it wrong sometimes.
“Instead of waiting for all the facts to be presented, others have rushed to judgment because they see a political opportunity for themselves or those around them,” Menendez said.
The indictment alleges Menendez and his wife worked together to provide sensitive US government information to the government of Egypt and tried to influence criminal investigations and prosecutions into his associates and friends. Prosecutors included pictures of the cash, gold bars and Mercedes that they say the couple received in exchange.
Menendez is facing three separate charges: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The former charge carries a maximum five year sentence, while the latter two carry 20 years each.