Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, has made it clear that he will not resign despite increasing pressure from both Washington and his home state to step down. Some House Democrats and leaders of the New Jersey Democratic Party, including the governor, have called for his resignation following his indictment on corruption charges in New York City on Friday.
However, Menendez stated on Friday night that he has no intention of leaving his position and plans to continue serving his state despite the charges. He emphasized the principle of "innocence until proven guilty" and asserted, "I am not going anywhere." In an earlier statement, Menendez also denounced the indictment as being filled with false accusations and part of a political smear campaign using anonymous sources and innuendos to create an appearance of wrongdoing where there is none.
In response to the charges, Menendez announced that he will temporarily step down from his role as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer stated that Menendez's decision to step down from the committee chairmanship is appropriate until the matter is resolved.
The charges against Menendez stem from a federal investigation alleging that he accepted luxury items and substantial sums of money in bribes in exchange for engaging in corrupt activities, including providing sensitive information to the government of Egypt. The 39-page indictment was revealed in Manhattan federal court and includes charges against Menendez, his wife Nadine, and others. They are expected to appear in federal court for their first hearing, and additional charges may be brought as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, has stated that the investigation is ongoing. This development comes approximately six years after Menendez faced a trial on unrelated corruption allegations, which ended in a hung jury.