Sen. Bob Menendez has been accused of accepting bribes and acting as a foreign agent for Egypt, according to a superseding federal indictment filed Thursday.
For more than four years through June 2022, Menendez, D-N.J., along with his wife and others, “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other” to have the senator act as an agent for the Egyptian government, the indictment alleges.
The indictment also alleges that Menendez, who is up for reelection next year, “provided sensitive U.S. government information and took other steps that secretly aided” Egypt’s government.
Menendez and his wife received thousands of dollars in bribes “in exchange for Menendez’s acts and breaches of duty to benefit” Egypt and others, “including with respect to foreign military sales and foreign military financing,” the indictment says.
It’s the latest federal criminal accusation against Menendez. The longtime New Jersey lawmaker and his wife, Nadine, were previously indicted in New York on federal charges related to their alleged “corrupt relationship” with three businessmen from their home state to protect those men and benefit the nation of Egypt.
A spokesperson for Menendez did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A representative for the Egyptian embassy did not respond to CNBC’s email seeking comment.
Later Thursday, Menendez issued a statement criticizing the new allegations.
“The government’s latest charge flies in the face of my long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt and in challenging leaders of that country, including President El-Sisi on these issues. I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country — the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom,” he said.
“Piling new charge upon new charge does not make the allegations true. The facts haven’t changed, only a new charge. It is an attempt to wear someone down and I will not succumb to this tactic. I again ask people who know me and my record to give me the chance to present my defense and show my innocence,” he added.
Menendez has denied wrongdoing and has rejected calls to resign from the Senate. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and many of Menendez’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate have also called on him to resign, including fellow New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has stopped short of demanding Menendez to step down, however.
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., said in a statement after the superseding indictment that it was time for the Senate to expel Menendez. “We cannot have an alleged foreign agent in the United States Senate,” Fetterman said. Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., who said he will run for Menendez’s Senate seat, echoed Fetterman’s call for an expulsion.
Menendez has said he will announce whether he will formally launch a campaign when the time comes. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate that will be up for grabs next year.
This is not the first time Menendez has faced federal corruption charges.
In 2017, a case against Menendez, who was accused of doing favors in exchange for gifts, ended in a mistrial.
At the time, Menendez broke down in tears as he addressed supporters after the mistrial, declaring the day as a “Resurrection Day” for his political career. He won reelection the next year.