Embattled Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is expected to defiantly announce Monday that he will seek re-election — less than a week after being indicted on explosive corruption charges.
The 69-year-old Democrat issued a statement Friday, the day of his Manhattan federal indictment, insisting, “I’m not going anywhere” — despite widespread calls including from top officials in his own party to resign.
Monday’s expected press conference would be his first in-person appearance since he and his wife were charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of gold bars, a Mercedes-Benz convertible, cash and even exercise machines and an air purifier.
Menendez is expected to announce his plans to run for office again in 2024 — even if he needs to run outside the Democratic Party, according to the New Jersey Globe
The longtime senator will speak in Hudson County, where he grew up and launched his political career nearly 50 years ago, but it remains unclear exactly when and where he will appear, the outlet said.
The senator reportedly asked to speak at Colin Powell Elementary School in Hudson, where he both grew up and served as mayor, but was turned away by school officials who said they did not want him to cause a distraction during a school day.
His office went so far as to send out invitations citing Colin Powell Elementary as the conference location before being turned away, according to reports.
Menendez did not respond to requests for comment from The Post on Sunday.
Both Menendez and his 59-year-old spouse, Nadine Menendez are accused of taking the bribes in return for using his influence to further the interests of the Egyptian government and three wealthy businessmen.
Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams alleged Menendez used his “power and influence” in the scheme and went so far as to push President Joe Biden to appoint a New Jersey US Attorney Philip R. Selinger because it was believed he could influence the criminal prosecution of one of the businessmen.
Menendez, who has served in the Senate since 2006, staunchly defended himself against the allegations after they were unsealed.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty,” Menendez said in his statement.
“I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades. This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along,” he said.
He claimed calls for his resignation were racially motivated.
“It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat,” he said.
Despite his vows to remain in office, Menendez did step aside from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed Friday.
Menendez allegedly accepted about $566,000 in cash bribes as well as 13 gold bars worth $150,000, a $60,000 Mercedes C-class sedan, a recliner, exercise machines and the air-purifier between 2018 and 2022
When federal agents raided his home in June 2022, they allegedly found large amounts of cash stashed throughout the house.
The senator was previously indicted on corruption and bribery charges in 2017 but got off after a deadlocked jury lead to a mistrial.
In that case, he was allegedly given about $1 million in private jet flights, vacations and other gifts in return for securing visas for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen’s foreign girlfriends.