Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) said that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) should not resign from his position amid the longtime senator’s recent indictment on federal charges, saying that “he’s innocent until proven guilty.”
When asked by NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Julie Tsirkin on the matter, Santos replied that he believes “due process is important,” adding that the senator “has the right to defend himself.”
“He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Santos told Tsirkin Sunday. “This..the media has to stop acting like everybody is guilty…before they’re even judged by a jury.”
“So no, I think everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Santos added. “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.”
“Everyone is innocent until the government executes its burden of proving otherwise,” Santos wrote in a post on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “I don’t care if you are a Rep or Dem we are all afforded the same constitutional rights!”
Santos, who was elected to Congress last November, has been at the center of controversy since allegations surfaced of him falsifying his background during his campaign. The embattled lawmaker currently faces 13 federal criminal charges related to alleged financial crimes.
Santos’ remarks come as Democrat lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) have all called for Menendez to resign from his position after he was indicted on bribery charges Friday.
Prosecutors allege that Menendez, along with his wife, Nadine, accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in bribes to assist three New Jersey businessmen and their interests in Egypt. Federal authorities found nearly $500,000 in cash and $100,000 in gold at the couple’s residence during a raid last year, the alleged payment for the bribes.
Menendez, who had to step down from his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denied the allegations against him, referring to it as a “smear campaign.”
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