(USNewsMag.com) – On Oct. 24, New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, 69, pleaded “not guilty” in a Manhattan court to a charge that he acted as a foreign agent for the Egyptian government while he was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez, as well as three New Jersey businessmen, Fred Daibes, Jose Uribe, and Wael Hana, were indicted on Sept. 23 on charges of participating in a bribery scheme as well as other corruption-related offenses. All entered pleas of not guilty on Sept. 27.
On Oct. 12, a grand jury filed the superseding indictment and added the charge of acting as a foreign agent against Sen. Menendez. The indictment alleges that from 2018 to 2022, the senator took actions on behalf of the Egyptian military and Egyptian intelligence officials. According to prosecutors, Nadine Menendez and Hana conspired to have the senator act on Egypt’s behalf. The two allegedly communicated requests to the senator from Egyptian officials. Prosecutors allege the two also failed to register as agents who were working on behalf of Egypt. Nadine Menendez as well as Hana pleaded not guilty on Oct. 18 to the additional charges against them.
Sen. Bob Menendez resigned as chairman when the indictment was first unsealed but remained on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, the senator has resisted calls from fellow Democrats to resign from the Senate.
Following his arraignment, Menendez issued a statement that the charge is “as outrageous as it is absurd.” He added that he has only been loyal to the United States and that once all the facts have been presented, he “will be found innocent.”
In 2017, Menendez was also indicted on corruption charges for an unrelated case. The charges were ultimately dropped after a jury could not reach a unanimous decision.
If convicted on the new charge, Menendez faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If convicted on all charges, the senator and his wife face 50 years in prison. A trial date is scheduled for May 6.
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