Bob Menendez Pleads Not Guilty to Obstruction of Justice Charges

March 11, 2024

U.S. senator Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) pleaded not guilty on Monday to a new indictment charging him with obstruction of justice, as the embattled Democratic lawmaker's corruption trial draws near.

Menendez entered the plea at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan.

Menendez was charged last year with taking bribes from New Jersey businessmen to impede law enforcement probes they faced and illegally acting as an agent of the Egyptian government. He has previously pleaded not guilty to those charges.

On March 5, a new indictment said Menendez in 2023 had through his former lawyers falsely conveyed to federal prosecutors in Manhattan that the senator thought mortgage and car payments that two businessmen made for his wife were loans, not bribes.

New Jersey's senior senator has resisted calls to resign, including from fellow Democrats. He temporarily stepped down from his role as chair of the Senate's foreign relations committee after being charged last year.

Menendez's Senate seat will be contested in the Nov. 5 election, and multiple New Jersey Democrats are vying to replace him. The chamber is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to cast tie-breaking votes for the Democrats.

Menendez, his wife Nadine Menendez, and businessmen Wael Hana and Fred Daibes are set to go on trial on May 6. Nadine Menendez, Hana, and Daibes also pleaded not guilty on Monday.