Another high-ranking Democrat has spoken out and is demanding Sen. Bob Menendez step down.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin posted a brief statement to social media Wednesday morning, joining the chorus of Democratic lawmakers requesting the resignation of the New Jersey senator.
“Leaders in New Jersey, including the Governor and my Senate colleague Cory Booker, have made it clear that Sen. Menendez can no longer serve,” Durbin wrote. “He should step down.”
Durbin is among the most prominent lawmakers to press for Menendez’s resignation — increasing the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has yet to formally ask Menendez for his resignation.
“Bob Menendez has been a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey,” Schumer said last week in a statement. “He has a right to due process and a fair trial.”
On Friday, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment charging Menendez, his wife Nadine, and New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes with participating in a yearslong bribery scheme.
Since 2018, as alleged by federal prosecutors, the three businessmen collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes-Benz and other things of value in exchange for Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich them and to benefit the government of Egypt.
The indictment accuses Menendez of improperly pressuring an official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to seek to protect a business monopoly granted to Hana by Egypt. The senator is also accused of taking actions seeking to disrupt a criminal investigation undertaken by the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General related to Uribe and his associates.
In June 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant at Menendez’s New Jersey home, where federal agents observed many of the fruits of the bribery scheme, including cash, gold, the luxury convertible and home furnishings. Prosecutors say $480,000 in cash, much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe, was discovered in the home, as well as over $70,000 in cash in Nadine’s safe deposit box. Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of Daibes or his driver, according to the indictment.
The senator has denied any wrongdoing and rejected calls for his resignation. He did, however, step down from his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Menendez faced a previous federal corruption indictment in 2015, but those charges ended in a mistrial in 2017. In 2018, the Senate Ethics Committee said he broke federal law and rules of the upper chamber in accepting unreported gifts from a friend and political ally. He still won reelection later that year.