U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), along with friend, political donor and Florida doctor Salomon Melgen, pleaded not guilty to corruption charges in U.S. district court in Newark this afternoon.
Melgen’s bail was set at $1.5 million, with a 10 percent cash requirement and a balance in property. He was also forced to surrender both his Dominican and American passports.
Menendez will not have to post bail and will still be allowed to travel internationally. He faces multiple charges of bribery and is accused using his political influence to improperly benefit Melgen.
Outside of the courthouse, Menendez’s criminal defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, stated that “prosecutors at the Justice Department often get it wrong,” citing various prominent cases in recent years.
Menendez reiterated to the dozens of members of the media on hand that the allegations in the indictment are false and that he looks forward to his date in court.
“For nearly three years, the Justice Department has pursued allegations based on spears launched by political opponents trying to silence me,” Menendez said. “Now that they have laid out their case, we will finally have an opportunity to respond, in court, with the facts.”
The trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on July 13 and the case is being heard by U.S. District Judge William Walls.