New charges were filed against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez on Thursday accusing him of accepting bribes from foreign governments and conspiring to act as a foreign agent, according to a superseding indictment.
The new indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Manhattan alleges that he “provided sensitive U.S. government information and took other steps to covertly assist the Egyptian government.”
Menendez could face up to two years in prison for failing to register as an agent of a foreign power as a public official, according to a law cited in the superseding indictment.
Menendez dismissed the new accusations in a statement Thursday.
“The government’s latest accusations run counter to my long record of defending human rights and democracy in Egypt and challenging the country’s leaders, including President Sisi, on these issues,” he said.
“Continuing to raise new accusations does not prove that the accusation is true. The facts have not changed, only new accusations have been made,” he added. “I again ask those who know me and my record to give me the opportunity to defend myself and prove my innocence.”
Menendez and his wife, Nadine, pleaded not guilty last month to corruption charges accusing them of using his influence to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
Three other defendants – New Jersey businessmen Jose Uribe, Fred Daibes and Wael Hana – also pleaded guilty last month to corruption charges Not guilty.
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., the first Senate Democrat to call for Menendez’s resignation after the initial criminal charges, said Thursday that senators should hold a vote to expel him.
“We cannot allow an accused foreign agent to enter the United States Senate,” Fetterman said in a statement. “It is time for every colleague in the Senate to join me in expelling Senator Menendez.”
Expelling Menendez requires two-thirds of the Senate to vote for removal.
Fetterman’s call was backed by New Jersey Rep. Andy King, who announced he would run for Menendez’s seat after he was charged last month. “Given the seriousness of these allegations, the U.S. Senate should vote on deportation,” King wrote on X.
In Thursday’s indictment, federal prosecutors accused Menendez’s wife and Hana of “working to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to Menendez in order to establish and solidify a corrupt agreement.”
The new charges allege that from 2018 to 2022, Harner, Menendez and his wife “conspired, combined and jointly agreed to have a public official” – Menendez – “act as an agent for a foreign principal, namely the Egyptian government and Egyptian officials.”
The report said Menendez, his current wife and Hana had dinner at a restaurant in 2018, as well as a second dinner in 2019 between Menendez and Hana and an unidentified Egyptian official.
Harner’s attorney, Larry Lusterberg, scoffed at the allegation in a statement Thursday.
“The new allegation that Val Hana was part of a conspiracy hatched over the dinner to recruit Senator Menéndez as an agent of the Egyptian government is both absurd and false. As with the other allegations in this indictment, Mr. Harner will vigorously defend against this baseless accusation,” Lusterberg said.
While Thursday’s filing contains more details about Menendez’s alleged conduct on behalf of the Egyptian government, prosecutors did not accuse the senator or his wife of accepting any additional charges not included in the charges released last month. Cash or gift.
The superseding indictment states that Menendez sent two letters to the Justice Department in May 2022, including one to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting that an unnamed former member of Congress Investigate as a foreign agent.
Prosecutors said the letters, posted on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s website and/or Menendez’s website, include specific regulations prohibiting Americans from working on behalf of foreign governments without registering with the Justice Department.
The indictment alleges that Menendez’s wife told Harner that she was dating the senator, which allegedly occurred as Harner began outreach, in part to promote Egyptian interests.
The new charges against Menendez come weeks after he and his wife were accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in exchange for using his influence to enrich three New Jersey businessmen and benefit the Egyptian government.
While serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez helped oversee billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Egypt. He resigned as chairman of the panel shortly after he was indicted last month.
Charges in last month’s indictment include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit racketeering under the guise of official authority. In the indictment, prosecutors accuse the couple of accepting bribes including “cash, gold bars, home mortgages, compensation for low wages or missed work, luxury cars and other items of value.” “
In addition to the federal corruption case, the FBI is investigating whether Egypt’s intelligence services may have been involved in an alleged bribery scheme described in a September indictment of Menendez and his wife, people familiar with the matter said last month.
Menendez resisted calls from dozens of Democratic colleagues for his resignation last month after he was accused of taking bribes.
During those calls, Menendez met with his fellow Senate Democrats in a closed-door meeting. After the meeting, he told reporters: “I will continue to vote on behalf of the people of New Jersey as I have for 18 years. I am sure that when they need these votes, they will look for it and let me grab these votes.”
Menendez has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the case and predicted he would eventually be acquitted. Nadine Menendez’s attorney, David Shetler, said in a statement after she was charged last month that she “denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend against these charges in court.”
In his first public comments on the charges, Menendez insisted that all the cash found at his Englewood Cliffs home was his.
“For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because my family has faced confiscation in Cuba,” he said. “The money was withdrawn from my personal savings account based on my legally earned income over the past 30 years.”
This is the second federal indictment Menendez has faced since taking office in 2006. In 2015, he was accused of illegally accepting favors from a Florida ophthalmologist. The case ended in a mistrial when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. Federal prosecutors decided not to retry him.
Menendez is the first sitting U.S. senator to face prosecution on two unrelated criminal charges, according to data compiled by the Senate History Office.
correct (Oct. 12, 2023, 9 p.m. ET): A photo caption in a previous version of this article misstated the state Menendez represents in the Senate. This is New Jersey, not New York.