Judge denies Menendez’s motion to dismiss bribery and extortion charges

Judge denies Menendez’s motion to dismiss bribery and extortion charges - Crime and Courts - News

Judge Dismisses Sen. Bob Menendez’s Immunity Claim in Federal Bribery and Extortion Case

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey faced a significant setback in his ongoing legal performance on Thursday when a Manhattan federal judge denied his motion to dismiss bribery and extortion charges on the grounds of legislative immunity.

The New Jersey Democrat had argued that the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine and Speech or Debate Clause protected him from certain law enforcement actions targeting his legislative duties. However, Judge Sidney Stein firmly disagreed with this assertion in a ruling that stated the allegations underlying these charges covered conduct beyond “legislative acts,” thereby lacking those legal protections.

Menendez, along with his wife Nadine Menendez and three New Jersey businessmen, were initially indicted as part of a bribery scheme back in September. Since then, the indictment has been amended multiple times to include new charges as prosecutors brought allegations of Menendez acting as a foreign agent for Egypt and accepting gifts from Qatar. Menendez maintains his innocence, having pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Menendez’s legal team, led by attorney Adam Fee, is currently reviewing the decision and considering their next steps. They have previously stated that the jury would ultimately decide the outcome of this case. “As we have said since day one, the Indictment is a gross distortion of reality,” Fee stated, expressing confidence that they will clear Menendez’s name at trial.

Last week, Menendez pleaded not guilty to a dozen new felony charges including conspiracy, obstruction of justice, bribery, and extortion. Prosecutors claimed that he had provided false information during interviews with investigators, stating that the alleged illegal bribes were loans.

Calls for Menendez’s resignation have intensified since the initial charges emerged in September, with his own party and Senate colleagues among those making the demand. The lawmaker has remained resolute, repeatedly stating that he will not resign and believes he will be exonerated once the facts are presented in court.

This decision marks an important step forward in the legal proceedings against Menendez, but it remains to be seen how this development will impact his upcoming trial, scheduled to begin on May 6, as well as a separate motion to dismiss charges based on other grounds that is still pending.