US Senator Menendez to be arraigned on foreign agent charge

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US Senator Bob Menendez is set to enter a plea on Monday to a new indictment charging him with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent for the Egyptian government.

Federal prosecutors on October 12 accused the New Jersey Democrat, who was until recently the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of taking actions from 2018 to 2022 on behalf of Egyptian military and intelligence officials.

Menendez is expected to be asked to enter a plea to the new charge at the 3 pm arraignment before US District Judge Sidney Stein. His lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.

In an October 12 statement, Menendez said “piling new charges upon new charges does not make the allegations true.”

The senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, had previously been charged with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cash and gold bars from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for using his influence to benefit Egypt’s government and interfere with law enforcement probes into the businessmen.

All defendants on September 27 pleaded not guilty to those charges. Nadine Menendez and one of the businessmen, Wael Hana, pleaded not guilty to the foreign agent charge on October 18.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, individuals must register with the department if they act as “an agent of a foreign principle.”

Prosecutors said Hana arranged meetings between the senator and Egyptian officials, who pressed him to sign off on military aid. In return, the businessman put Nadine Menendez on the payroll of a company he controlled, prosecutors said.

The new indictment said both Hana and Nadine Menendez communicated requests and directives from Egyptian officials to the senator.

Bob Menendez has resisted calls from fellow Democrats to resign.