Advertisement

Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to obstruction charges in new federal indictment

Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to obstruction charges in new federal indictment

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty Monday to obstruction charges contained in a new federal indictment filed in Manhattan that added to the bribery and corruption charges he already faced.

"Once again not guilty your honor," Menendez said.

Menendez came to court alongside his wife, Nadine, who also pleaded not guilty to the new charges.

PHOTO: Sen. Bob Menendez arrives with his wife Nadine Menendez at Manhattan Federal Court, in New York, for his arraignment, March 11, 2024.  (Adam Gray/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Sen. Bob Menendez arrives with his wife Nadine Menendez at Manhattan Federal Court, in New York, for his arraignment, March 11, 2024. (Adam Gray/AFP via Getty Images)

MORE: Sen. Bob Menendez and wife face new obstruction charges in bribery case

Federal prosecutors said the couple allegedly tried to make bribes -- that took the form of a new Mercedes-Benz and a mortgage payment -- look like loans. The pair allegedly instructed their attorneys at the time to tell federal investigators they thought a mortgage payment on Nadine Menendez's house and a payment for her Mercedes-Benz were loans when, in fact, prosecutors said they knew the payments were bribes.

When Menendez and his wife learned of the federal investigation in 2022, prosecutors said they sought to cover up the bribe payments.

Menendez, his wife and two New Jersey businessmen -- all of whom pleaded not guilty to the new obstruction counts -- are scheduled to stand trial in May.

On Monday, Judge Sidney Stein declined Bob Menendez's request to adjourn the trial date in light of the new charges.

"From my standpoint, the May 6 date stands," the judge said

MORE: Businessman charged with bribing Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife pleads guilty

A third businessman who had been charged in the case, Jose Uribe, pleaded guilty earlier this month and agreed to cooperate. Uribe supplied Nadine Menendez with the luxury convertible in exchange for the senator's help, prosecutors said.

The new indictment, which brings the total number of charges Bob Menendez faces to 18, followed Uribe's plea.

Prosecutors have alleged the senator took gifts -- gold bars, wads of cash and luxury watches, among others -- in exchange for doing official favors for Uribe and the governments of Egypt and Qatar. He is the first sitting member of Congress to be charged with conspiracy by a public official to act as a foreign agent.

Bob Menendez has denied all wrongdoing and called the prosecution "overzealous."

When asked Monday by ABC News whether he would run for reelection, the senator -- who has held his seat since 2006 -- said he "wouldn't be announcing it in a courtroom."

Federal prosecutors said it would take four to six weeks for them to put on a case. Defense attorneys expect to take at least a week.

Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to obstruction charges in new federal indictment originally appeared on abcnews.go.com