Menendez corruption trial: Sens. Graham, Booker testify on behalf of NJ Democrat

Two high-profile U.S. senators testified Thursday on behalf of their embattled colleague, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., as his bribery and corruption trial nears its end. 

Menendez got support on the stand from a Democrat and a Republican. South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker testified that Menendez was honest and honorable.

Menendez is on trial in Newark for allegedly accepting gifts from a donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, including free trips on the eye doctor’s private jet.

MENENDEZ CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY TRIAL: WHAT TO KNOW

"In very difficult circumstances he always keeps his word," Graham said during about six minutes of testimony. "A handshake is all you need from Bob. He's a very honest, hardworking senator."

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham leaves Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse after testifying on behalf of Sen. Bob Menendez, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Menendez is on trial for bribery. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham leaves Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse after testifying on behalf of Sen. Bob Menendez, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Newark, N.J. Menendez is on trial for bribery. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Graham arrived at the courthouse before Menendez and spoke briefly with reporters. After his testimony, he told reporters that even though he disagrees with Menendez politically, “all my interactions with Bob have been on the up and up.”

“He is the type of guy who gives you his word and he sticks with it no matter how much pressure put on him to back off,” Graham said, “and we need more of that not less.”

Menendez and Melgen have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Booker also testified on Thursday, saying his fellow New Jersey senator is someone who keeps his word.

"There’s a rule I have with my staff, which is under-promise and over-deliver, and that’s what he’s about … when he would tell me something … and I found him profoundly honorable and trustworthy and direct,” Booker said, adding that "if he gives you his word you can take it to the bank."

Graham's office said that he traveled to Newark at his own expense.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez arrives at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez arrives at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse for his federal corruption trial, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The trial is in its eighth week. Neither Melgen nor Menendez has testified. The defense is expected to rest its case soon, after which the two sides are expected to spar over how U.S. District Judge William Walls is to instruct the jury on the law.

The definition of official bribery was narrowed by a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has been responsible for the recent overturning of several politicians' corruption convictions.

Fox News' Whitney Ksiazek and The Associated Press contributed to this report.