Democratic Senator Bob Menendez is planning to announce his candidacy for re-election in 2024 as a senator from New Jersey during a press conference, which will be his first public appearance since his bribery charges.
According to a report from The New Jersey Globe, Menendez has planned a press conference in Hudson County for his re-election, although the exact location was not specified, which could indicate a nomination outside of the Democratic Party.
Initially, Menendez requested to organize the conference at the Colin Powell Primary School in Union City, where he was mayor. However, school officials rejected this possibility as it is a school day, the report stated.
Menendez was recently charged on Friday by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from three New Jersey businessmen and the government of Egypt in exchange for his political influence to benefit them, as reported by Fox News.
Furthermore, the indictment involves his wife Nadine, as well as the three businessmen: Wael Hana, José Uribe, and Fred Daibes. Federal prosecutors claimed that the bribes included gold bars, cash, and even a luxury convertible.
In response to these accusations, Menendez pleaded not guilty to the charges, stating that it is a politically motivated persecution due to his criticisms of President Donald Trump’s government.
Menendez recently resigned from his position as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, he avoided resigning as senator.
Menendez will face a tough battle to maintain his seat in the Senate, as he has several potential rivals within and outside the Democratic Party.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Representative Andy Kim from that state are among the Democratic officials who have called for his resignation.
Despite the legal dispute Menendez is facing, this is not the first time he has been in this situation. In 2015, the senator was accused of accepting undeclared gifts from a friend and political ally, ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for favoring his interests.
However, the case ended in a mistrial in 2017 due to the jury’s lack of unanimity, while in 2018, the Senate Ethics Committee stated that Menendez violated federal law and Senate rules by accepting gifts from Melgen.