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Menendez is filing as an independent candidate in the New Jersey Senate race

Indicted Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey filed for re-election as an independent on Monday.

His decision to run as an independent, first reported by The New Jersey Globe, comes a day before the New Jersey primary in which three Democrats and four Republicans are vying for their parties’ nominations for the seat he holds in present.

Menendez, who faces federal corruption charges and is on trial in New York City, announced in March that he would not run for a fourth full term as a Democrat, but left open the possibility of an independent run if he is exonerated. He faces a Tuesday deadline to file as an independent. The deadline for New Jersey independent candidates to withdraw from the ballot is August 16.

His presence in the race could make the New Jersey Senate race more unpredictable, with control of the chamber hanging in the balance. Democrats hold a slim majority but face a tough electoral map this fall.

“It saddens me that I have to go down this path, thanks to overzealous prosecutors, but I will do what needs to be done to continue to uphold my oath of office to my constituents,” Menendez said in a statement Monday night.

“Like I said before; I have committed no crime. I am more confident than ever that the people of New Jersey and the rest of the American public will see me exonerated of what I am accused of and I will be re-elected to the Senate once more,” he continued.

Rep. Andy Kim, the Democratic front-runner in Tuesday’s primary, criticized what he said were Menendez’s self-interested motives.

“Americans are tired of politicians who put their own personal gain ahead of what is right for the country,” Kim said in a statement. “Everyone knows that Bob Menendez is not running for the people of New Jersey, he is running for himself. It is past time for change and I am taking a step to restore integrity to the US Senate.”

Menendez’s federal corruption trial is in its fourth week. The senator, New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, and Menendez’s wife, Nadine, are accused of engaging in a bribery scheme and acting as foreign agents for the Egyptian government. All four pleaded not guilty.

The lawsuit included hundreds of text messages, emails, pictures and voicemails sent between the senator, Nadine Menendez, Hana and a number of friends and business associates with alleged roles in the bribery scheme.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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