Embattled Sen. Menendez Weighs Independent Run As Bribery Trial Begins

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is reportedly seeking support from friends in his state to pass around a petition that would allow him to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming November election. The senator, who declined to seek reelection as a Democrat, must secure at least 800 registered voter signatures before the June 4 deadline.

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are currently facing three federal counts of allegedly accepting bribes from New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Fred Daibes and Jose Uribe. The couple is accused of using Menendez’s political clout to “protect and enrich” the businessmen and benefit Egypt, according to a New York Times indictment.

Additional allegations emerged in January, claiming Menendez accepted bribes, including luxury wristwatches, from the Qatari royal family in exchange for speaking highly of Qatar. The senator has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

As Menendez’s trial, which began on May 13, proceeds, jurors were given a glimpse into his home through photographs taken during an FBI search in June 2022. The search revealed $486,461 in cash and 13 gold bars worth more than $150,000.

The New Jersey Globe reported that by filing as an independent, Menendez could potentially keep his seat or enhance his bargaining position in a three-way race.