Manhattan, New York – US Senator Bob Menendez is set to return to Manhattan federal court on Monday to formally enter an expected not-guilty plea to a conspiracy charge.
This charge alleges that he acted as an agent of the Egyptian government, even while he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The 69-year-old Democrat was scheduled to appear in the afternoon before Judge Sidney H. Stein at the federal court in Manhattan. Menendez relinquished his influential role as the leader of the Senate committee after being charged last month.
Prosecutors claimed that the senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, received bribes in cash, gold bars, and a luxury car over the past five years from three New Jersey business people in exchange for various corrupt acts.
The other defendants in the case entered not-guilty pleas to a superseding indictment last week.
Senator Menendez was granted a delay for his arraignment to attend to Senate duties. He has vehemently maintained his loyalty to the United States and declared his intention to prove his innocence.
Despite calls from more than 30 fellow Democrats urging him to resign, Menendez remains steadfast in his position.
The revised indictment introduced an additional charge, alleging that Menendez, his wife, and one of the business people conspired to have Menendez act as an agent for the government of Egypt and Egyptian officials.
As a member of Congress, Menendez is legally prohibited from acting as an agent for a foreign government.
Senator Bob Menendez to Enter Not Guilty Plea in Conspiracy Case
The senator faces accusations of passing sensitive information to the Egyptians about the US embassy staff in Cairo, drafting a letter on Egypt’s behalf to influence fellow senators, and pressuring the US State Department to become more involved in international negotiations aimed at blocking a dam project that Egypt opposed, among other allegations.
Last week, Nadine Menendez and businessman Wael Hana pleaded not guilty to the superseding indictment last week.
They were charged with conspiring with the senator to use him as an agent for the government of Egypt and its officials, a charge that carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison.
Source: ABC News