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New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to federal bribery charges in Manhattan courtroom

Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to federal bribery charges
Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to federal bribery charges 04:01

NEW YORK -- U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal bribery charges, as he faces mounting pressure to resign

The 69-year-old New Jersey senator and his wife, Nadine, entered federal court in Lower Manhattan through a crush of cameras. They were holding hands and said nothing. At least one person held up a sign that said "resign," and someone else shouted, "do the right thing!"

Inside the courthouse, there were close to a dozen U.S. Marshals as well as Secret Service as Menendez and his wife, along with two indicted businessmen, entered their not guilty plea to the three-count indictment that includes bribery and extortion charges. 

Sen. Menendez day in court: What to know 08:58

The judge released Menendez on $100,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered him to surrender his personal passport, but allowed him to keep his official one. 

Menendez was also told not to have contract with Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff who may have knowledge of the case. 

The feds have accused Menendez and his wife of taking bribes from three businessmen, including Josh Uribe and Fred Daibes, in exchange for political favors. 

The government said the FBI seized close to $500,000 in cash from the couple's home. Some of the money, the government said, was in envelopes stuffed in Menendez's Senate jacket and the envelopes bore the fingerprints of Daibes. 

The government also seized 11 gold bars and a Mercedes Benz.

Sen. Menendez, wife plead not guilty to federal bribery charges 02:13

CBS New York's Alice Gainer tried to get comment from Uribe, who's now out on $1 million bond. 

"Did you make payments on the Mercedes?" she asked. 

Menendez said he earned the cash legally, and stashed it away because of his family's past in communist Cuba. 

"For 30 years, I have withdrawn thousands of dollars in cash from my personal savings account which I have kept for emergencies, and because of the history of my family facing confiscation in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," Menendez said Monday. 

Political analyst Steve Adubato, who has known Menendez for years, said the senator has a tough road ahead. 

"You can't show $480,000 in cash, stuffed in envelopes, some are in your safe, some are in your jacket, and say 'I was saving for a rainy day,'" Adubato said. 

Sen. Dick Durbin is now part of a slew of Democrats, including Sen. Cory Booker, urging Menendez to resign. 

"He has lifted up issues that the Latino community cares about time and time again. It doesn't bring me, or any of us, joy to say that her should resign. But he should," House Democratic Caucus Chair Peter Aguilar said. 

"The more I think of the the person I know, Bob Menendez, he's not resigning. He's not going anywhere. It's one of the chips he has to negotiate with the government who is prosecuting him," Adubato said. 

Much of the indictment contains information on text messages Nadine Menendez allegedly sent to the three businessmen, including Wael Hana, an Egyptian-American, who surrendered to authorities at JFK Airport Tuesday

The government said Menendez, who stepped down as the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, allegedly provided sensitive information to Egypt's government through Hana, who has pleaded not guilty. 

Menendez is scheduled to address the Democratic caucus on Thursday. 

This is the second indictment for Menendez. He faced a corruption case back in 2017 that resulted in a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict. 

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