(NationRise.com) – Democrat Senator Robert Menedez of New Jersey has pleaded not guilty after accusations that he and his wife partnered with a local businessman to serve as an Egyptian foreign agent. Menedez issued the plea during a hearing in a Manhattan court. His trial is scheduled to begin next May.
The unprecedented case marks the first time a sitting US senator has faced charges of aiding a foreign government. The charges have been filed in New York’s Southern District. US laws forbid Congressional representatives and senators from working as agents of foreign governments. According to the accusations, Menedez allegedly provided secret information to Egypt’s government apart from any business for the federal government.
Menedez is blaming the accusations on a conspiracy to “wear him down.” He claims the allegations are meant to undermine the humanitarian work he has supported in Egypt. The embattled senator also said that he has tried to challenge the leaders of Egypt’s government, rather than work with them, before saying that he only has a lifelong loyalty to the US.
The alleged conspiring occurred for just over four years between 2018 and 2022. Menedez is also accused of other actions to help Egypt’s government that officials have not yet publicized.
The alleged arrangement with the Egyptian government was discovered while officials were investigating a bribery case against Menedez. Prosecutors believed Menedez was accepting bribes from business associates in New Jersey, which also benefited Egypt. In addition to cash, the gifts also included an exotic vehicle, home payments, and gold.
Since the allegations went public, over half of the members of the Senate Democratic Caucus asked Menedez to resign. He responded by echoing his claims of innocence and insisting that he would not step down. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) has said that he will consider the expulsion of Menedez as a possible option.
While Menedez has not yet been found guilty, poll numbers show a significant drop in support among his constituents. The same poll also showed that voters in his district are more likely to support his Republican opponent if he runs for election next year.
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