Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee of the United States (US) Senate, Robert Menendez, has temporarily stepped down from his position, following bribery charges.
Justice department prosecutors alleged that Menendez and his wife, Nadine accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for aid to Egypt’s government which the couple have denied.
The embattled Senator, however rejected calls from fellow Democrats back in his home state of New Jersey to resign his seat.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Menendez had decided to step down as chairman of the influential committee “until the matter has been resolved”.
The New York Democrat said his colleague was “a dedicated public servant and is always fighting hard for the people of New Jersey”.
Menendez and his wife Nadine, are accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold, payments towards a home mortgage and a luxury vehicle from three New Jersey businessmen.
Prosecutors alleged that the pair accepted the money to secretly aid the Egyptian government and to enrich the three men: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes.