A defiant Sen. Robert Menendez on Monday rejected calls from fellow Democrats for his resignation over federal bribery and public corruption charges.
In his first public remarks since last week’s indictment, the New Jersey Democrat previewed the forthcoming legal battle as the “biggest fight yet” of his career.
“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,” Mr. Menendez said during a press conference in his home state.
New York prosecutors say nearly a half-million dollars in cash, gold bars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a luxury car were among the gifts that Mr. Menendez and his wife accepted from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for information that would benefit them personally and the Egyptian government.
Mr. Menendez, who faced a similar criminal case in 2015 that ended with a hung jury, went on to accuse critics of rushing to judgment.
“We cannot set aside the presumption of innocence for political expediency when the harm is irrevocable. To those who are rushed to judgment you have done so based on a limited set of facts framed by the prosecution to be as salacious as possible,” he said. “Remember, prosecutors get it wrong sometimes. Sadly, I know that. Instead of waiting for all the facts to be presented, others have rushed to judgment because they see a political opportunity for themselves or those around them.”