WASHINGTON - (AP) - Sen. Bob Menendez is taking a business-as-usual approach as he returns to Congress for the first time since his April 1 indictment on federal corruption charges.

The New Jersey Democrat voted on a routine judicial nomination Monday as Congress ended a two-week break. He chatted amiably with colleagues and staffers. Several senators shook his hand and patted his shoulder.

Prosecutors say Menendez used his office to help a wealthy friend who has given him gifts and campaign donations.

Menendez may have eased his return to Washington somewhat by sharply denying the charges in press conferences and a TV talk show during the recess.

Menendez has stepped aside as the Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat. He told reporters Monday he remains committed to a tough stand against Iran's potential weapons-making abilities.