Sen. Menendez to Face Corruption Charges

CNN: Feds bringing criminal case against Robert Menendez of New Jersey
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2015 2:28 PM CST
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. speaks on Capitol Hill in January.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez has been fending off allegations of corruption for two years now, but things are about to get much worse. CNN reports that the feds will bring criminal corruption charges against the prominent Democrat in a matter of weeks, and the Wall Street Journal confirms. Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder has reportedly signed off on the move by the Justice Department. Menendez is accused of doing political favors for a wealthy eye doctor named Salomon Melgen. Among other things, the investigation has focused on whether Menendez improperly used his political clout to help Melgen fight accusations that he overbilled Medicare.

Menendez also took repeated flights to the Dominican Republic as Melgen's guest, and in 2013, he acknowledged that his failure to disclose them was an "oversight," notes CNN. He reimbursed Melgen $58,000 for the trips. It was on one of those visits to the DR that the most sensational angle of the scandal emerged—allegations of a Menendez tryst with underage prostitutes, paid for by Melgen. The senator denies it and says the story was manufactured by his enemies in Cuba. (The women who made the accusations eventually recanted, but the FBI continued investigating, notes the New York Times.) Menendez is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, though he's not exactly a White House darling. He's been a critic of negotiations with Iran and renewed ties with Havana.

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