US Senator Bob Menendez arrives in court to face Egypt bribery charges
Foreign Relations Committee chairman faces calls from within his own Democratic Party to resign
US Senator Bob Menendez arrived in a federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday to face bribery charges, as calls for his resignation continue to grow.
Federal prosecutors last week accused Mr Menendez and his wife Nadine of accepting more than $550,000 in cash and gold bars in exchange for the senator using his position to help the Egyptian government.
Mr Menendez has also been accused of encouraging Cairo to approve Mr Hana’s monopoly on halal meat imports to Egypt, even though neither Mr Hana nor his company had experience with halal certification.
He has since stepped down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, though he has thus far remained defiant in the face of calls for him to resign as senator.
More than half of US Democratic senators have called for his resignation so far.
Among those calling for his resignation was fellow New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker, who was a character witness for Mr Menendez in a previous case.
“The details of the allegations against Senator Menendez are of such a nature that the faith and trust of New Jerseyans as well as those he must work with in order to be effective have been shaken to the core,” Mr Booker said in a statement.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has thus far refrained from making any such call.