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US Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on charges of public corruption, following a two-year federal investigation into his ties to a friend who contributed large sums to his re-election campaign. Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and lead author of legislation aimed at tightening sanctions against Iran, will temporarily step down from his role on the panel. "While there is no caucus rule that dictates that I do so, I believe it is in the best interests of the committee, my colleagues, and the Senate, which is why I have chosen to do so," Menendez wrote Wednesday in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, insisting he would resume his post once the proceedings are concluded. "I'm angry because prosecutors at the Justice Department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption, and have chosen to twist my duties as a senator and my friendship into something that is improper," Menendez told reporters in Newark, New Jersey.