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Sen. Bob Menendez won’t seek reelection as Democrat

Sen. Bob Menendez in the Capitol building Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon

Sen. Bob Menendez won’t seek reelection as Democrat

The New Jersey senator confirmed on Thursday he would not file for the Democratic primary in the upcoming election. Menendez alleged he would not have a fair run for re-election because of “the present accusations I am facing, of which I am innocent.” He hopes to file as an “independent Democrat” candidate after “my exoneration” following his trial scheduled for early May. The 70-year-old shared disappointment at “the false accusations” and asked the public to “withhold judgment until justice takes place.”

What accusations? The senator faces over a dozen federal charges, including bribery and wire fraud, after federal investigators say they found hundreds of thousands of dollars and gold bars in their home. Prosecutors allege that three New Jersey businessmen bribed Menendez and his wife, Nadine, to “protect and enrich” the businessmen and “benefit the Government of Egypt.” After his September indictment, Menendez stepped down as chairman of the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee. It’s not the first time Menendez has faced federal bribery charges. A federal judge acquitted Menendez in 2018 after a hung jury trial the year before.

Did he try to explain the money and gold found? Menendez said he legally withdrew the money from his personal accounts over a period of 30 years. He said the money was kept for emergencies— a family habit that “may seem old-fashioned.”

Dig deeper: Read Lynde Langdon’s report in The Sift for more on the charges Menendez faced in 2017.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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