Menendez Denies Bribery Allegations, Says He Intends to ‘Prove My Innocence’

Sen. Menendez at a press conference following the initial indictment.

By Steve Neavling

Sen. Bob Menendez declared his innocence during an emotional speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, saying he intends to “prove my innocence” after the Justice Department filed new bribery charges against him. 

During a nearly 20-minute speech, the New Jersey Democrat also rejected calls from his Senate colleagues to resign, NBC News reports

In the latest indictment last week, Menendez was accused of taking bribes in exchange for helping the government of Qatar. 

He called the charges “sensational.”

“The United States Attorney’s Office is engaged not in a prosecution, but a persecution,” he said. “They seek a victory, not justice.”

Menendez claimed he advocated for businesses to come to New Jersey and acknowledged he made positive statements about Qatar and Egypt. But, Menendez emphasized, he believed those countries and their leaders “were falling short of their international obligations.”

“That give and take, that carrot and stick, that cajoling and rewarding, is the essence of diplomacy,” he said. “It is a job we all partake in every day as part of our duties in the Senate.”

Menendez also rejected allegations that he and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and said he will prove his innocence during trial.

“There is no evidence of the giving or receiving of cash and gold bars,” he said. “In fact, there has been and will be at trial a full explanation of what is the truth about those issues, a truth that proves I am entirely innocent of the charges.”

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