A federal grand jury issued a second superseding indictment on Tuesday against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on allegations of accepting bribes as more Democrats call for his resignation.
The new indictment includes allegations that Menendez made positive comments about Qatar in exchange for luxury gifts, including luxury wristwatches worth $10,000 and $24,000 as well as foreign trips.
The allegations say Menendez made positive statements about Qatar to help a New Jersey developer get a multimillion-dollar investment from a company that was located in the country.
“Menendez provided Daibes with these statements so that Daibes could share them with the Qatari Investor and a Qatari government official associated with the Qatari Investment Company,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors allege that Daibes and Menendez exchanged text messages about the scheme and the gifts involved, including photos of the luxury watches.
“How about one of these,” the indictment quoted Daibes saying in a message he sent to Menendez.
Prosecutors say that Menendez and Daibes had attended an event that was hosted by the Qatari government days later.
Days later, Daibes sent Menendez a message about a Senate resolution supportive of Qatar. In March 2022, Qatar offered Mendendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, tickets to the Formula One Grand Prix in Florida, according to prosecutors.
Menendez and Daibes have both pleaded not guilty in the case.
The news comes after a growing number of Senate Democrats have called on Menendez to resign from Congress amid the latest round of allegations. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), called the allegations against Menendez “hard to reconcile with the person I know”.
“Stepping down is not an admission of guilty but an acknowledgement that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost,” Booker said in a statement. “Sen. Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again. I believe stepping down is the best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving.”
The senator has said he will not step down from office.