- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Menendez in 2015 became the 13th sitting senator to face charges when he was indicted over alleged corruption and bribery charges. He beat the charges with a hung jury in 2018 and was later cleared of the criminal charges after the Justice Department asked a federal court to dismiss the case.
Menendez, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before temporarily stepping down after the second indictment, and his wife are now facing charges of corruption for allegedly accepting bribes including cash, gold, mortgage payments and a Mercedes-Benz.
Over the course of the last 200 years, 12 other senators have been indicted while serving in the Senate, according to the Senate Historical Office.
The 13 indicted lawmakers include nine Republicans and four Democrats who faced charges ranging from making false statements to misusing public funds to bribery.
Menendez is one of two living senators to be indicted − the other being former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison who was charged with official misconduct and tampering with evidence.
Here's a round-up of the 13 senators who have faced charges while in office:
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.
Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, were indicted Friday and accused of a "corrupt relationship" with a trio of New Jersey businessmen − Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes − who were also indicted.
The 69-year-old senator and his wife "allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as a senator to seek to protect and enrich Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and benefit the Government of Egypt," prosecutors said in a news release.
Menendez, who is serving his third term, called the allegations "baseless" and said in a statement Friday he will remain focused on working for New Jersey families.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” he said in a statement. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
Menendez was previously indicted in 2015 on 14 counts including bribery, conspiracy and false statements.
Prosecutors at the time said Menendez used his office to benefit a Florida eye doctor in exchange for nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions. The New Jersey lawmaker repeatedly defended himself and pleaded not guilty on all counts. The trial ended in a hung jury and the Justice Department subsequently dropped all charges in 2018.
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska
A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who served in the Senate for over 40 years, in 2008. The Alaska lawmaker faced seven counts of making false statements for failing to report $250,000 in gifts and services from an oil company that helped renovate his home.
Stevens was convicted of all seven counts in 2008, but a federal judge dismissed Stevens’ conviction the following year because government lawyers improperly concealed evidence that would have damaged the credibility of government witnesses.
Stevens died in a 2010 plane crash at the age of 86.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas
Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, was indicted during her first year in office in 1993 by a grand jury in Austin, Texas, on five charges of official misconduct and tampering with evidence. The indictment stated Hutchison used her position as Texas treasurer for personal gains ahead of launching her Senate campaign.
Hutchison faced an additional indictment the following year alleging the lawmaker misused treasury employees and computers for personal and political reasons. But that same year, a judge ordered her acquittal because the Travis County district attorney refused to present the case.
Hutchison served in the Senate for 20 years and did not run for reelection in 2012.
David Durenberger, R-Minn.
Former Sen. David Durenberger, R-Minn., served in the Senate for 17 years and faced charges for misusing public funds while in office.
Durenberger sought Senate reimbursement for nearly $4,000 in lodging expenses for nights spent at his Minnesota condo. He pleaded guilty in 1995 to five misdemeanor charges of converting public funds for personal use. The guilty plea led the Justice Department to drop the felony charges and not recommend prison time.
Durenberger was sentenced to one year probation and a $1,000 fine. The lawmaker retired after the 1994 elections and died in January 2023.
Harrison Williams Jr., D-N.J.
Former Sen. Harrison Williams, D-N.J., was indicted in 1981 while in office for taking bribes in return for obtaining a government contract as part of the Abscam sting operations, an FBI operation that resulted in the convictions of several members of Congress for bribery and corruption charges.
Williams faced one count of conspiracy and two counts each of bribery, conflict of interest, receiving a criminal gratuity and interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprise.
The former New Jersey lawmaker resigned before the Senate could vote on expulsion. Williams was sentenced to three years in prison. He served 21 months and died in 2001.
Edward Gurney, R-Fla.,
Former Florida Republican Sen. Edward Gurney was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury and bribery. Gurney served on the Senate committee investigating Watergate.
He did not run for reelection and was acquitted in 1976.
Burton Wheeler, D-Mont.
Former Montana Democratic Sen. Burton Wheeler, who served in the Senate for nearly 25 years, was indicted in 1924 on conflict of interest charges. A lawyer, Wheeler accepted a fee to represent a client before the Interior Department.
He was exonerated by the Senate and later acquitted in court.
Truman Newberry, R-Mich.
Former Sen. Truman Newberry, R-Mich., was indicted with 134 others in 1919 on conspiracy charges for violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, a no-longer existing federal law that regulated campaign finance in federal elections.The Michigan lawmaker was accused of spending nearly $3,800 to win his Senate race. He was convicted in 1920 and sentenced to two years in prison with a $10,000 fine. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction one year later citing that the Senate exceeded its powers to regulate primary elections. Newberry ended up resigning and left the Senate in 1922.
Joseph Burton, R-Kan.
Former Sen. Joseph Burton, R-Kan., was indicted in 1904 on charges of receiving money for services rendered before a federal department and interceding in a mail fraud case.
The Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Burton served five months in prison. He resigned from the Senate before his colleagues could vote to expel him.
Charles Dietrich, R-Neb.
Former Nebraska Republican Sen. Charles Dietrich was indicted in 1903 on charges related to accepting a bribe and entering into a contract with the government while serving as a senator.
The Senate found him innocent and he was acquitted one year later.
Richard Kennedy, D-Del.
Former Sen. Richard Kennedy, D-Del., faced a 25-count indictment in 1898 on charges of conspiracy and embezzlement of funds from the First National Bank of Dover.
Over half of the original counts were dismissed, but the others charged Kennedy with aiding and abetting embezzlement of funds. His trial ended in a hung jury.
The grand jury indicted Kennedy again in 1898 on charges related to conspiring to misapply bank funds. The trial also ended in a hung jury and the district attorney dropped all charges.
Kennedy finished his term in the upper chamber but lost in his reelection bid.
John Hipple Mitchell, R-Ore.
Former Oregon Republican Sen. John Hipple Mitchell was convicted in 1905 on charges related to receiving fees for expediting land claims before the U.S. Land Commissioner.
Mitchell died before the Senate could vote on his expulsion and while the case was being appealed.
John Smith, R-Ohio
Former Ohio Republican Sen. John Smith was indicted in 1807 with former Vice President Aaron Burr on charges relating to conspiring to commit treason.
The jury found Smith not guilty and the Senate failed to expel him by one vote. Smith resigned in 1808 at the request of the Ohio legislature.
Contributing: Catalina Camia
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Is Menendez the only senator to be indicted? Here's 12 others