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Sen. Bob Menendez files motion to dismiss indictment

The Democratic senator from New Jersey has denied the bribery and other allegations, claiming he faces "persecution" from the government amid mounting calls from his colleagues to resign.
Sen. Bob Menendez
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., at the Capitol on Nov. 29.Graeme Sloan / Sipa via AP file

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss an indictment charging him with bribery and acting as a foreign agent.

In a statement, Menendez's lawyer Adam Fee said in a statement that the charges are unconstitutional and that the motion to dismiss the charges Wednesday was filed “to expose the government’s case is rotten at its core.”

“The charges against him violate Constitutional safeguards designed to stop overzealous prosecutors from second-guessing the good-faith actions of elected officials,” Fee said. “Indeed, as our motion shows, much of what the prosecutors have charged here cannot even constitute a crime. There should be no trial.”

“The government should be forced to end this case, as well as its one-sided effort to falsely tarnish the reputation that Senator Menendez built through 50 years of patriotic public service,” he added. “We look forward to the Court’s ruling.”

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, were charged in September with bribery, accused of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in exchange for the use of the senator’s influence to enrich three New Jersey businessmen and to benefit the Egyptian government.

Menendez temporarily stepped down as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee after he was indicted but remains a member of the panel.

He faced additional charges in October alleging he “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.”

He, his wife and the businessmen have pleaded not guilty.

A federal grand jury last week hit Menendez with a second superseding indictment alleging that he assisted one of the businessmen, a New Jersey developer, with acquiring a multimillion-dollar investment from a company linked to Qatar by making several statements supportive of the country. Menendez also allegedly exchanged text messages with the developer about the alleged scheme, the indictment said.

Menendez moved to dismiss the indictment a day after he forcefully denied the new allegations in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday. He denied wrongdoing and called on his colleagues to give him the chance to explain himself in court.

In his almost 20-minute speech, Menendez slammed what he characterized as “sensational” allegations that have spurred a growing list of colleagues to demand his resignation.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is engaged not in a prosecution but a persecution,” he said. “They seek a victory, not justice.”