New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is refusing to resign after he and his wife were indicted on bribery charges. During a press conference on Monday (September 25), Menedez remained defiant and vowed that he would be exonerated.
"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," Menedez said. "The court of public opinion is no substitute for our revered justice system. We cannot set aside the presumption of innocence for political expediency when the harm is irrevocable."
Menendez and his wife are accused of accepting bribes, including some in the form of gold bars, to help enrich local New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government.
During the press conference, Menendez addressed the gold bars, saying they were legally purchased with his money.
"For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba," said Menendez. "Now, this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years."
Menedez was previously indicted on bribery charges in 2015, but that case ended in a mistrial. However, the Senate Ethics Committee found that he broke federal law and the upper chamber's rules by accepting unreported gifts. Despite the Ethics Committee's findings, Menendez was reelected in 2018.