New York Times urges Menendez to resign

The New York Times is calling for Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Bottom line MORE (D-N.J.) to step down from his Senate seat now that he has been indicted on 14 counts of corruption.

The paper’s editorial board said Menendez "would be doing a disservice" to his constituents by staying in office.

"He would be doing a disservice to New Jersey by clinging to power as a disgraced politician," the Times editorial board wrote Thursday. "His colleagues in the Senate should demand that he step aside."

So far Democrats have stood behind the embattled senator, and the New Jersey Democrat has been adamant that he plans to remain in the Senate while he fights the charges.

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Speaking after his Thursday court hearing, Menendez said he is “confident" the allegations will be proven false.

"We will finally have an opportunity to respond, on the record, in court, with the facts," he said. "These allegations are false, and I am confident they will be proven false."

The editorial board suggested that Menendez wouldn’t be able to juggle his court case and his duties in Congress.

“He’s certainly entitled to make that case to a jury,” the board wrote. “Considering the breadth and nature of the allegations, though, it’s hard to imagine that he will have enough time to adequately represent his constituents while he braces for a legal fight that could drag on for years.”

The charges against Menendez include conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud, in connection with his relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and political donor. Melgen, also charged, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

The Justice Department alleges Melgen bribed Menendez with gifts and donations to his legal defense fund.

The Times editorial board said DOJ’s indictment “meticulously documents a brazen pattern of gifts and favors” between Menendez and Melgen.

“The most damning portion of the indictment chronicles Mr. Menendez’s advocacy on behalf of Dr. Melgen when in 2009 federal officials found that he had overbilled Medicare by nearly $9 million,” the editorial board wrote. “The most salacious parts of the complaint summarize Mr. Menendez’s efforts on behalf of Dr. Melgen’s foreign girlfriends who needed visas to spend time with him in the United States.”

The Times isn’t the first newspaper to call on Menendez to step down.

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest paper, said Wednesday that the state “would be better off” if Menendez resigned.

"The state needs a respected senator who is focused on his job, not a tarnished defendant who spends his days fending off credible charges of corruption and raising money for his legal defense," the newspaper's editorial board wrote.  

The Star-Ledger backed Menendez during his 2012 reelection campaign.