Menendez Kicks Off Puerto Rican Relief Effort As Corruption Trial Continues

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) is fighting for his political life in a federal corruption trial, but that has not stopped him from working his regular retail politics.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman reported, the senator gave some remarks in Newark Sunday, and then helped kick off an effort to raise $100,000 for Puerto Rican hurricane relief.

“I want to donate from my campaign $1,000 towards the efforts,” Menendez said.

But Menendez is in the midst of a federal corruption trial accused of bribery. He did not want to talk about it Sunday.

“I’ve said 100 times and I will say it to the 101st — we will make our case in court, not in the public,” he said.

When asked if he thought it hurt his ability to be a senator, Menendez said: “Absolutely not. As evidence, I am here today.”

An indictment charges Menendez with accepting private jet flights and luxury hotel stays from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for political influence.

If convicted of 12 charges against him, Menendez could be sentenced to upwards of 30 years in prison.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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