Menendez's fate could sharpen Republicans' edge in Senate

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reacts as he exits the podium after speaking to the media during a news conference in Newark, New JerseyBy Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez’s indictment on corruption charges on Wednesday raised the possibility of Republicans gaining a 55th Senate seat to strengthen their hand in policy fights with President Barack Obama. Federal prosecutors indicted the New Jersey senator on charges of accepting gifts from a donor and friend, Florida-based ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit Melgen’s personal and financial interests. Menendez, 61, a senior member of Senate foreign policy, banking and finance committees, said he had done nothing wrong and had no plans to leave the Senate. “I’m confident, at the end of the day, I will be vindicated,” he told a news conference in New Jersey on Wednesday evening.

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