U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is joining several of his colleagues in asking U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign over his federal bribery indictment, calling for a Senate Ethics Committee probe if he doesn’t.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Sen. Menendez should resign. If he doesn’t, a Senate Ethics Committee investigation must go forward immediately,” Sanders tweeted last night.
Sanders now joins over two dozen Democratic federal representatives in Washington D.C., which added former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late Monday evening and New Jersey’s junior U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) late Tuesday morning.
The majority of the New Jersey congressional delegation has called on Menendez to resign, though U.S. Reps. Donald Payne (D-10) and Bonnie Watson Coleman both took a more neutral stance.
The three-count indictment charges Menendez and his wife with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color and official right.
They are accused of having a “corrupt relationship” with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. Those three are charged with the first two counts.
Overall, the indictment charges that the Menendezes accepted corrupt payments for their mortgage, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300, $486,471 in cash, another $79,760 from the safe deposit box, two one-kilogram gold bars, and 11 one-ounce gold bars.
Hana pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court in Manhattan, while the other four will be arraigned this morning.
Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges in 2015 and while the case ended in a hung jury in 2017, he was admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee the following year during a re-election bid.
Menendez “knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts of significant value from Dr. Melgen without obtaining required Committee approval, and that you failed to publicly disclose certain gifts as required by Senate Rule and federal law,” Politico reported at the time.
“Additionally, while accepting these gifts, you used your position as a Member of the Senate to advance Dr. Melgen’s personal and business interests.”
NBC New York reported last night that the ongoing investigation now includes the FBI seeking to determine if Egyptian intelligence had a role in the case.