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Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to latest federal corruption charges

N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to latest federal corruption charges
N.J. Sen. Bob Menendez pleads not guilty to latest federal corruption charges 01:59

NEW YORK -- New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez was back in federal court in Lower Manhattan on Monday afternoon after the indictment against him was rewritten to add an additional charge.

Menendez said nothing as he walked into court. The 69-year-old stood and answered the judge's questions and told him he was pleading "not guilty, your honor."

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The longtime senator, his wife, Nadine Menendez, and Egyptian-American businessman Wael Hana are accused of conspiring to have Sen. Menendez act as an agent of the Egyptian government while he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Menendez has since stepped down from that role leading the committee.

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Nadine Menendez and Hana entered not guilty pleas to the superseding indictment last week, but Sen. Menendez was allowed to delay his arraignment due to Senate obligations.

Among the allegations, he's accused of passing non-public, highly sensitive information to the Egyptians about the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, allegedly texting it to Nadine Menendez, who forwarded it to Hana, who then sent it to an Egyptian government official.

Sen. Menendez is also accused of ghostwriting a letter on behalf of Egypt, "lobbying other U.S. senators to support U.S. aid to Egypt."

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Prosecutors say the senator and his wife accepted bribes that included gold bars, cash and a luxury car from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for official acts.

Last month, Sen. Menendez pleaded not guilty to federal bribery and other charges and was released on $100,000 bond.

The other defendants also pleaded not guilty.

On his way out of court Monday afternoon, there was again silence from Sen. Menendez as reporters asked questions.

However, the senator later released a statement to CBS New York, saying:

"The government's latest charge flies in the face of my long record of standing up for human rights and democracy in Egypt and in challenging leaders of that country, including President El-Sisi on these issues. Anyone who knows my record, knows this latest charge is as outrageous as it is absurd.

"I have been, throughout my life, loyal to only one country -- the United States of America, the land my family chose to live in democracy and freedom.

"The facts haven't changed. The government is engaged in primitive hunting, by which the predator chases its prey until it's exhausted and then kills it. This tactic won't work.

"I will not litigate this case through the press, but have made it abundantly clear that I have done nothing wrong and once all the facts are presented will be found innocent."

More than 30 Democrats have called on Sen. Menendez to resign. He maintains his innocence.

The latest charges have a penalty of up to five years in prison. Federal law prohibits Sen. Menendez, as a public official, from serving as a foreign agent.

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