Booker released a statement Tuesday morning, a day afterabout the claims against him.
"Senator Menendez is again facing a federal indictment, one that contains shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing. I've found the allegations hard to reconcile with the person I know," Booker's statement read in part.
Booker then joined the.
"As Senator Menendez prepares to mount his legal defense, he has stated that he will not resign. Senator Menendez fiercely asserts his innocence and it is therefore understandable that he believes stepping down is patently unfair. But I believe this is a mistake," he wrote. "Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost. Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again. I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving."
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Menendez said Monday he will not step down and believes he will eventually be exonerated.
The senior senator is accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to benefit three New Jersey businessmen and the Egyptian government. He is due in court Wednesday in Manhattan.
"This is not a first go-around for Menendez and the evidence is pretty striking right now in terms of the case they have against him," said Ashley Koning, a professor at Rutgers University and the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling.
Koning said Menendez, who is up for re-election next year, was to resign, Gov. Phil Murphy would appoint a successor.
"So lining it up and making sure that seed is fulfilled by a Democrat is crucial for New Jersey Democrats, and, frankly, it's also crucial for the entire National Democratic Party, given that the Senate hangs on a razor-thin margin," Koning said.
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