Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges relating to an alleged bribery conspiracy involving payments in gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, a luxury car and passing sensitive information to the Egyptian government, CNN reported.
Menendez has been charged with three counts for allegedly taking bribes to use his political power and connections to help the government of Egypt obtain military aid as well as pressure a state prosecutor investigating New Jersey businessmen and attempt to influence the federal prosecution of a co-defendant.
The senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, and co-defendants Jose Uribe and Fred Daibe, entered not guilty pleas as well. A fifth co-defendant, Wael Hana, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.
More than 20 Democratic senators, including his fellow New Jersey senator Cory Booker, have called for Menendez to resign in the wake of the indictment. Menendez, who is up for reelection next year, has already stepped down from his post as the Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
Asked Tuesday why he wouldn’t resign, Menendez told reporters, “Because I’m innocent. What’s wrong with you guys?”
The New Jersey Democrat was previously charged by federal prosecutors from the US attorney’s office in New Jersey in 2015 with conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud relating to allegedly abusing the power of his office.
The trial ended in a mistrial in November 2017 after the jury reported it was deadlocked.