U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., suggested Monday that he will not resign from his Senate seat amid federal corruption charges and predicted he would be cleared of wrongdoing.
“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator.” Menendez told reporters at a press conference in Union City, N.J., where he once served as mayor. They were his first public remarks since the charges against him were unsealed Friday.
“The allegations leveled against me are just that — allegations,” Menendez said.
He asked his congressional colleagues “to pause and allow for all the facts to be presented.”
“Prosecutors get it wrong sometimes,” he said.
Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., announced Saturday he’d challenge Menendez for his seat. “Not something I expected to do, but NJ deserves better,” Kim wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
There have been numerous calls for Menendez to resign from House Democrats and Democratic officials in New Jersey, including Gov. Phil Murphy. On the Senate side, only John Fetterman, D-Pa., has called for him to step down, while others have described the allegations against him as “devastating.”
Menendez and his wife were indicted Friday on charges that include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. The indictment alleges they received bribes included “cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and other items of value.”
Federal investigators who executed a search warrant at their homefound more than $480,000 in cash, “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe,” according to the indictment.
Senators, aside from top leaders, make $174,000 a year.
Menendez has denied any wrongdoing and suggested in a statement Friday night that he’s being targeted because of his heritage.
“It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere,” he said.