New Jersey Gov. Murphy, Assembly speaker call on Sen. Bob Menendez to resign

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Ranking member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and the state’s General Assembly speaker called on U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez to resign Friday after their fellow Democrat was indicted on federal bribery charges.

“The allegations in the indictment against Senator Menendez and four other defendants are deeply disturbing,” Murphy said about Menendez, the state’s senior senator.

“These are serious charges that implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system,” said Murphy.

“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, “The charges laid out against Senator Menendez today go against everything we should believe as public servants.

“We are given the public’s trust, and once that trust is broken, we cannot continue,” Coughlin said, adding that Menendez must resign to “allow New Jersey, and America, to move forward.”

A third leading New Jersey Democrat, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim earlier had called on Menendez to resign.

Menendez, 69, and his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted on three criminal counts, along with three New Jersey businessmen who were charged with two of the counts.

The couple is accused of having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes over at least four years, while the senator performed, in return, political favors for the three businessmen.

Prosecutors allege the favors included providing sensitive national security information to Egyptian officials.

Mendendez insisted he and his wife had nothing wrong, and accused prosecutors in a statement of having “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office.”

He did not address the specific charges other than to say the “facts are not as presented.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, in a statement said, “Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey.”

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin in a statement late Friday afternoon said, “The allegations are deeply disturbing to me and my Office, and we are already in the process of reviewing the concerns raised by the indictment.”

“As the now unsealed indictment makes clear, there are allegations that Menendez attempted to pressure a senior member of this Office under a prior administration,” Platkin said.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment occurred prior to my tenure as Attorney General, and involved a matter that was resolved prior to my time in office. My Office has cooperated fully with the Southern District of New York’s investigation. We will continue to do so. We are also engaged in our own independent internal inquiry into the allegations set forth in the indictment.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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