WATCH: Bob Menendez Chokes Up as He Says Corruption Charges Spoiled His 'Golden Jubilee'

January 9, 2024

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) became emotional Tuesday during a speech in which he said the corruption charges against him ruined his "golden jubilee" year of public service.

"After 50 years of public service, this is not how I wanted to celebrate my golden jubilee," Menendez said in a speech on the Senate floor, as he appeared on the verge of tears. "But I have never violated the public trust. I have been a patriot for and of my country."

Menendez said the government levied the accusations against him "in the most sensational and purposely damning way possible," and he vowed to fight the charges.

"I have never chosen the easy path—never have, never will, and will not do so now," he said. "I simply ask for justice to be allowed to work its way through."

He also apparently referenced calls from his Senate colleagues for him to resign, lamenting that "the greatest and most ardent defenders of the Constitution in this body are among the most vociferous in calling for my resignation."

"If, for political expediency, an indictment and its accusations are now tantamount to guilt, we have upended our system of justice in America," Menendez said.

More than half the Democrats in the Senate called on Menendez to resign in late September after prosecutors charged him with receiving lavish gifts—including gold bars—to help the Egyptian government and interfere with law enforcement investigations into three New Jersey businessmen. Weeks later, he received a new charge when the government accused him of acting as a foreign agent on behalf of Egypt. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) in December called Menendez a "senator for Egypt, not New Jersey" in response to a question about the House's expulsion of embattled Rep. George Santos (R., N.Y.).

Prosecutors last week issued a superseding indictment that did not add new charges to Menendez's case but alleged that he helped a businessman in his state seek an investment from a company in Qatar that had ties to the regime. He is set to face trial on May 6.