Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., said this weekend that indicted Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., should not resign amid a federal bribery indictment until he receives his "due process."
"I don't have an opinion on that," Santos, who is facing his own set of federal legal troubles in New York, initially told a reporter from MSNBC on Capitol Hill Sunday. "Because I think due process is important, and I think he has a right to defend himself. He is innocent until proven guilty."
He then went on to criticize the media for jumping to the conclusion that the allegations are true long before a trial in court.
"The media has to stop acting like everybody is guilty before they are even judged that by a jury," Santos said. "I think everybody is innocent until proven guilty. When did we walk away from the fabric of our Constitution that everybody has a presumption of innocence before anything else? So, I don't think he should resign."
The senior New Jersey senator and his wife were indicted Friday along with three businessmen from that state on charges of bribery stemming from Menendez getting cash, gold, and cars, for using his position to "enrich" the businessmen as well as the government of Egypt, according to the Department of Justice.
"As the grand jury charged, between 2018 and 2022, Sen. Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes — three New Jersey businessmen who collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes-Benz, and other things of value — in exchange for Sen. Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt," U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said in a Sept. 22 press release announcing the charges. "My Office is firmly committed to rooting out corruption, without fear or favor, and without any regard to partisan politics. We will continue to do so."
A June, 2022, search of Menendez's New Jersey residence by the FBI recovered "many of the fruits of this bribery scheme, including cash, gold, the luxury convertible, and home furnishings."
According to the DOJ, that included more than $480,000 in cash, stuffed into envelopes hidden in clothing.
As many Republicans call for a resignation, top Congressional Democrats are also asking Menendez to step down.
"The allegations in the indictment of Sen. Menendez are shocking," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was a key player in investigating, and eventually impeaching former President Donald Trump, posted on social media Saturday. "If accurate, they represent the most profound betrayal of his oath of office. He's entitled to the presumption of innocence and will have his day in court. But the gravity of the matter demands his resignation."
Santos was indicted himself on fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and false statements by the DOJ in May.
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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