Senator Bob Menendez says gold bars and cash seized at his home were found in illegal search

US Senator Bob Menendez is arguing that investigators who raided his home did so illegally and were motivated by political grudges.

Now the senator from New Jersey wants a Manhattan federal judge to toss out the evidence collected during the investigation.

Mr Menedez has been charged with accepting bribes of cash, gold bars, and a luxury car over the last five years in exchange for political favours. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Investigators who searched his home last year seized many of the valuables, including the cash and gold bars, according to the Associated Press.

In 2017, Mr Menendez beat 18 criminal charges that alleged he accepted bribes in the form of luxury vacations and campaign donations in exchange for his political influence. Prosecutors then dropped the case against Mr Menendez.

The senator is now claiming that New Jersey prosecutors are only investigating him as revenge for their failed 2017 case.

"The government's apparent zeal to 'get back' at Senator Menendez for defeating its prior prosecution has overwhelmed its sound judgment," Mr Menedez's lawyers said. "The FBI ran roughshod over the Senator's Fourth Amendment rights, and all evidence collected from those searches must therefore be suppressed."

The senator's lawyers are arguing that the search warrants used to justify the investigation at Mr Menendez's home were "riddled with material misrepresentations and omissions."

They further claimed that FBI agents seized "virtually anything of value" from his home, and destroyed his property.

"Agents broke down doors (even, in some cases, where the doors were unlocked) and tore apart closets, wardrobes, dressers and other storage locations in the home, flipped over documents and rifled through file folders," they wrote. "The FBI seized all manner of things, including the cash and gold bars that the government has made the centerpiece of its case."

The senator, who was not home at the time of the raid, said he was "shocked to find my belongings and furniture in complete disarray", The New York Times reports.

The FBI ultimately seized 13 bars of gold bullion, more than $550,000 in cash, and a luxury Mercedes-Benz.

Mr Menedez formerly led the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he has since lost that post since his arrest.