Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) reportedly lashed out on Friday after he and his wife Nadine were indicted by federal prosecutors on bribery charges, claiming he was the victim of a widespread conspiracy.
Menendez is accused of conspiring to commit bribery, honest services fraud, and extortion under color of official authority.
According to the indictment, Menendez and his wife had a corrupt relationship with New Jersey industrialists Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, who allegedly bribed the senator with tens of thousands of dollars in bribes.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.” Melendez said.
“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent. They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction. Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals.” he continued.
According to the Department of Justice, the bribes were intended to benefit Egypt and shield the businessmen.
Menendez is also accused of ghostwriting a letter to other senators urging them to support lifting a hold on $300 million in military aid to Egypt.
The letter is said to have been drafted in collaboration with his wife and the industrialists in question. Other aspects of the indictment concentrate on Menendez’s involvement with IS EG Halal, a business that prosecutors say was used to funnel bribery payments, and one of the businessman’s alleged payments for Nadine Menendez’s Mercedes Benz.