New Jersey’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Robert Menendez, angrily proclaimed his innocence yesterday after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges stemming from his relationship with a Florida physician.
Later yesterday, Menendez released a letter in which he announced that he would temporarily step down from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where had served as chairman until Republicans gained a majority in the Senate; Menendez now holds the designation of ranking member. “While there is no caucus rule that dictates that I do so, I believe it is in the best interests of the Committee, my colleagues, and the Senate which is why I have chosen to do so,” Menendez wrote.
The 14-count indictment accuses Menendez of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal gifts and campaign contributions from Dr. Saloman Melgen – described by the senator as a longtime friend – in exchange for a variety of personal and professional favors, some of which were related to a Medicare billing dispute.
Menendez is scheduled to appear today in federal court in Newark to respond to the charges.
NJ Spotlight and its content partner, NJTV News, will continue to cover the ongoing story of the charges against the state’s senior senator – and his defiant promise to fight until his name is cleared. Here’s NJTV’s look back at Menendez’s political career.