Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) refused to say Thursday whether he would resign from Congress if he is convicted on federal corruption charges.
Menendez return to the capital during a break from his corruption trial in Newark, where CNN asked him about his plans should the results not fall his way.
Federal prosecutors have accused Menendez of taking bribes from friend and donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, in return for Menendez pressuring federal officials to intervene in a multimillion-dollar dispute between Melgen and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over billing practices.
Asked what he would do if convicted, Menendez told CNN "I'm not contemplating anything but reelection next year."
"I have no intention of being anything but exonerated, So therefore, I'm not contemplating anything but reelection next year," Menendez said.
ABC’s Mary Bruce has referred to the case as an "episode of ‘Scandal’," an ABC show with political themes of "bribery charges, mistresses, and alleged abuse of power, and at the heart of it all, a U.S. senator on trial for federal corruption."
Asked if he would run for reelection, Menendez declined to share his plans.
"I'm not making an announcement for you on CNN," he said.
A Suffolk poll last month found that 84% of likely New Jersey voters believe Menendez should resign if convicted. But his colleagues are not so concerned: fellow Democratic senator from New Jersey Cory Booker has given $200,000 to Menendez’s Legal Expense Fund, as well as showing his support on the first day of trial by sitting in the front row.
Asked how he would win a reelection campaign given the corruption trial, Menendez said he will remind the voters of his record, and seemed confident his poll numbers would rise.
"I have no doubt that upon exoneration, and my record being — reminding people of New Jersey of my record in helping Sandy victims, and helping New Jersey create jobs, standing up for the health care of a million and a half New Jerseyans under the Affordable Care Act, and in our engagement in the world to make America safer, including New Jerseyans, that our poll numbers will rise, and I'll be reelected," he said.
Menendez finished his comments to CNN by saying he’ll "make my[his] case in court."
"I'm not going to speak about the trial, I'll make my case in court," Menendez said.