Menendez Files for Reelection Despite Legal Troubles

Business man hiding money in jacket pocket - Corruption and Fraud Concept

( – Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) filed on Monday, June 3rd to run for re-election as an Independent. He said it “displeases” him to run as an Independent instead of a Democrat, and blamed “overzealous prosecutors.”

Menendez is involved in an ongoing federal trial. He is accused of using his political position to benefit the governments of Qatar and Egypt, and three local businessmen in exchange for bribes in the form of gold bars, cash, mortgage payments, and an expensive Mercedes convertible for his wife Nadine. The Senator said he is innocent and is confident he will be exonerated of all charges.

Wael Hana, Fred Daibes, and Jose Uribe are the businessmen indicted alongside Menendez. Hana and Daibes pleaded not guilty. Uribe pleaded guilty, confessed to buying a convertible for Nadine Menendez, and agreed to testify.

Menendez’s legal team has been attempting to shift the blame to Menendez’s wife Nadine during the trial. Nadine is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Her trial will not begin until later this summer. During opening statements, Menendez’s attorney claimed that gold bars discovered during a search of the couple’s home were in a locked closet and belonged to Nadine. The attorney also tried to explain the large amounts of cash found stashed around the home as a trauma reaction resulting from Menendez’s rough childhood.

The choice to run as an Independent has caused concern amongst Menendez’s former allies. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he advised Menendez to “resign and step down” and receive a fair trial. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he is concerned Menendez’s third-party bid will jeopardize the Democrats’ “ability to hang on to the seat.”

U.S. Representative Andy Kim (D-NJ) said Menendez is not running for the people, but for himself. According to Kim, Americans are “fed up” with selfish politicians, putting their personal agenda ahead of the concerns of the country.

Menendez told a reporter on Monday that running as an Independent does not mean he is changing parties.

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