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Menendez: I pledge to remain in Congress and face bribery charges

His decision to remain in the Senate may complicate the efforts of the Democratic Party, which seeks to maintain its narrow majority margin

قراره بالبقاء في مجلس الشيوخ قد يؤدي إلى تعقيد جهود الحزب الديمقراطي الذي يسعى للحفاظ على فارق الأغلبية الضئيل

Yesterday, Monday, US Democratic Senator Bob Menendez denied any wrongdoing and pledged to remain in Congress after prosecutors accused him and his wife of accepting bribes from three New Jersey businessmen.

Menendez has defied calls to step down from New Jersey elected officials, including the state's Democratic governor. His decision to remain in the Senate may complicate the efforts of his party, which seeks to maintain its narrow majority of 51 to 49 votes in the Senate, even though New Jersey has not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972.

Menendez temporarily resigned as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. House Democrats' rules require any member accused of a felony to give up their leadership position, but they can regain the position if proven innocent.

“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, I will not only be exonerated, but I will remain an outstanding senator from the state of New Jersey,” Menendez, 69, said in his first public statements since the charges were brought against him.

Prosecutors said that Menendez received hundreds of thousands of dollars and gold bullion in exchange for using his power and influence to assist the Egyptian government and interfere in law enforcement investigations into the three businessmen.

Sherrod Brown became the second Senate Democrat to call on Menendez to resign, saying in a statement, "Senator Menendez has betrayed the trust of the citizens and must resign from the United States Senate."

Last Saturday, Senator John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, urged Menendez to resign in a post on the X platform.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre did not comment on Menendez's decision to remain in Congress, but she told reporters on Monday, "We believe that the senator stepping down as chairman (of the Foreign Relations Committee) was the right thing to do."

Prosecutors are seeking to confiscate Menendez's assets, including his home, a 2019 Mercedes-Benz convertible, $566,000 in cash, gold bullion, and funds in a bank account.

In response to a question about the accusations against Menendez, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, “We believe that the senator stepping down from his leadership position is the right thing for him to do.”

Menendez said that he worked to hold countries, including Egypt, accountable for human rights violations, and that the cash in his home was withdrawn from his accounts and kept for emergency situations.

"If you look at my actions related to Egypt during the period mentioned in this indictment and throughout my entire career, my record is clear and consistent," he added. This is the third time federal prosecutors have investigated Menendez, but he has never been convicted.

Menendez, his wife and the businessmen are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday. The couple faces a sentence of up to 45 years in prison, but judges in this type of case usually issue sentences less than the maximum penalty.

Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, is a strong voice on foreign policy. He was at times at odds with his party, and criticized moves taken by President Barack Obama's administration to ease tense relations with Cuba and the nuclear deal between the United States and Iran. He was among the politicians who led many failed efforts to reform the American immigration system.



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