New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has joined the small, but growing chorus of Democrats urging Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to resign from the U.S Senate after the fellow New Jersey Democrat was indicted on federal bribery charges Friday morning.
Murphy, in a statement reported by CBS News, branded the bombshell claims against Menendez “deeply disturbing,” adding that the claims “implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
“Under our legal system, Senator Menendez and the other defendants have not been found guilty and will have the ability to present evidence disputing these charges, and we must respect the process,” Murphy stated, according to the news outlet. “However, the alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state. Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Menendez, along with his wife, Nadine Menendez, were indicted in New York in connection with their alleged “corrupt relationship” with a trio of businessmen and to “benefit” the Egyptian government. The indictment, which also names Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes as codefendants, accuses the senator of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes in exchange for favors from the businessmen.
CBS News noted:
Prosecutors said federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash during a search of the couple’s home in June 2022, “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe,” as well as over $70,000 in a safe deposit box belonging to Nadine Menendez. They also found gold bars worth more than $100,000, according to the indictment.
Murphy’s remarks come after Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) urgedMenendez to step down, calling on Democrat leadership to “push him out” if the senator refuses.
“First of all, everybody’s innocent until proven guilty, thank goodness, still in our country. But I’m appalled. Anybody who pays attention, I don’t care your politics, Democrat or Republican, you should be appalled,” Phillips told CNN. “A member of Congress who appears to have broken the law is someone who I believe should resign.”
Eric Holder, who served as attorney general in then-President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, has also called on Menendez to resign.
“As both a leader in the Democratic Party & the former Attorney General and given the nature of the charges, I call upon Senator Menendez to resign,” Holder wrote on X of the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The nation will be better served if he steps aside and allows a transition to occur that will best serve the people of New Jersey.”
Menendez has denied any wrongdoing.
“Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists,” the embattled lawmaker said in a statement.
“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent. They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met,” he added.