Menendez’s Words For NJ Voters in First Interview Since Corruption Bust
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez continued to proclaim his innocence in an interview in his first one-on-one interview since getting hit with corruption and bribery charges.
New Jersey's senior U.S. senator told NJ Spotlight's David Cruz that he looks forward to a trial that will let his constituents know "what the truth really is" about the charges levied against him by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York.
"The government presented this in the most salacious way possible, the most sensational way possible in order to have the desired effect that they have temporarily achieved," Menendez told Cruz.
"The reality is that we presented information to the government on those issues and others that clearly explains a different rationale for its existence, which is something the government just simply decided not to acknowledge."
Why gold bars?
While Menendez would not fully explain the reasons for why gold bars and cash were in his home in order to "preserve that for my defense." However, he did make an attempt to explain the origin of the cash and why he didn't store it in a safe.
"I've said I have drawn from my personal credit union savings account for the better part of 30 years $400 every week in cash and while that may seem old fashioned or some people may think of it as crazy, the reality is is that the government has those records," Menendez said.
Resigning is the 'easy way out'
Menendez previously explained that it goes back to his family's experience in Cuba and a fear of the government taking away his money. He denied having financial problems at the time he is accused of taking bribes and said he lives a "simple life."
He denied that he was shut out of an intelligence briefing on the Israeli/Hamas war despite having to step down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he was first charged in compliance with Senate protocol. His intelligence credentials are still in tact and he has often skipped similar briefings when he anticipated it being about matters he already knows.
"The reality is after someone who has done foreign policy for 31 years and who knows intimately the U.S./Israel relationship and the challenges that Israel faces and particularly in the horrific actions of Hamas, I didn't need to go to an intelligence briefing to tell me what we need to do to stand by Israel and at the same time help Palestinian people who are innocent and not part of Hamas."
Menendez said he understands the anger and disappointment expressed about the allegations but is not planning to resign.
If had taken what he calls the "easy way out" and resigned when he was charged in 2017, none of the things he has accomplished would have happened, according to the senator. .
"The fundamental element of our system is justice is the presumption of innocence and so I don't ask for anything more than any other citizen. But I don't deserve anything less than any other citizen and when the facts are fully known I fully trust New Jerseyans to be able to see through what has happened so far and see what the truth is," Menendez said.
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