US Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey has attributed his decision to stash nearly half a million dollars cash at home to the fears ingrained by his Cuban parents who were apprehensive of money seizures by authorities. The money and other valuable assets, including gold bars, have become the focal point of the case brought against him by federal prosecutors.
A Defiant Stand Amidst Calls for Resignation
Despite facing heavy criticism and calls for resignation from within his own party, Senator Menendez remains confident in his innocence. "When all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey's senior senator," he asserted during a news conference in Union City, New Jersey.
This was his first public appearance since his indictment on Friday. Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife accepted a series of lavish bribes – including money, gold bars, and a luxury car – in exchange for political favors.
The senator's retort to these charges is potent. "Those who rushed to judgment, you have done so based on a limited set of facts framed by the prosecution to be as salacious as possible," he stated.
Revelations from the Indictment
Federal agents unveiled an extensive cache when they searched Menendez's residence last year: over $480,000 in cash concealed in various nooks and crannies – from jackets to closets and a personal safe.
They also discovered 13 bars of gold bullion. Adding to the intrigue, an additional $70,000 was found in his wife's bank safety deposit box. Interestingly, the indictment also highlighted that Mr. Menendez had previously searched online for the value of one kilo of gold.
Addressing the discovery of cash during his Monday's news conference, Menendez said, "I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account, which I have kept for emergencies and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in Cuba." He continued, "Now this may seem old-fashioned, but these were monies drawn from my personal savings account based on the income that I have lawfully derived over those 30 years."