Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to address the allegations of corruption against him. In a fiery speech, he defended himself and denied any wrongdoing.
Menendez also dragged his colleagues into the fray without naming anybody specifically, suggesting the bribery charges are centered around things that are normal practice in Congress.
The Democrat senator, according to Axios, claimed that “he was being indicted for things many senators do during legislative and diplomatic processes.”
“The suggestion that an introduction of a constituent to a Qatari investment company is illegal is not only wrong as a matter of law, it is dangerous to the important work all of us as senators do,” Menendez said.
“Under the government’s theory, it may be a crime for members of the senate to make introductions to companies and constituents in their own state, to foster investment in their state,” he added.
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Menendez: I’m Being Targeted For Doing What Everybody Else Does
Senator Menendez was initially indicted on bribery charges back in September. According to prosecutors, he and his wife allegedly received bribes including cash, gold, luxury vehicles and vacations, mortgage payments and other forms of compensation, in exchange for enriching multiple New Jersey businessmen.
A search of the senator’s home yielded more than $480,000 in cash – some of it in envelopes stuffed into a jacket with his name on it – gold bars, and a Mercedes.
A subsequent report indicates that at least four of the gold bars located in Menendez’s home were linked to a 2013 robbery.
Menendez then received another charge in the case for allegedly conspiring to act as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt.
This was followed by a federal indictment last week alleging that he took bribes in exchange for helping the government of Qatar.
Senator Menendez delivered a passionate defense of his actions, often growing emotional during his speech on the Senate floor.
“After 50 years of public service, this is not how I wanted to celebrate my golden jubilee,” he said as he fought back tears.
RELATED: Democrat Senator Bob Menendez Charged With Conspiracy To Act As A Foreign Agent For Egypt
Do Many Senators Have Gold Bars In Their Closet?
During his speech, Senator Menendez insisted that he had never received anything from the Qatari government and criticized the relentless campaign by prosecutors to get him to resign. He said that he has never violated the public trust and is entirely innocent of the charges.
Menendez emphasized that he has always acted in the best interest of the United States and its allies.
“I have never violated the public trust,” he said. “I have been a patriot for and of my country.”
Menendez’s assertion that “he was being indicted for things many senators do” is a remarkable admission of the problem. It shouldn’t be a “normal” process to enrich businesses and foreign entities while enriching yourself, culminating with a stash of gold bars in your mattress. Allegedly.
Several Senate Republicans have actually defended Menendez amidst calls from his own Democrat colleagues to resign, noting that the New Jersey senator has a right to due process.
Menendez has long been wrapped up in controversies, having escaped corruption charges thanks to a hung jury in 2017.
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