0111 GMT December 16, 2019
The New Jersey senator has pleaded not guilty to eight bribery counts related to his close personal friendship with Melgen, a Florida doctor and longtime political donor, Press TV said.
They met at a fundraiser in 1993 shortly after Menendez was voted into the Senate. Menendez usually flew on the doctor’s private plane, sometimes bringing a guest to the Melgen’s trip villa in the posh Dominican Republic resort of Casa de Campo.
The 61-year-old Democratic senator is also accused of using his influence to get visas for a Brazilian model and a Ukrainian actress.
The two females were paramours of Melgen, who was one of Menendez’s biggest donors, prosecutors charge.
The Senator is also accused of attempting to influence a State Division official on Melgen’s behalf in a dispute involving one particular of the doctor’s enterprise interests in the Dominican Republic.
The doctor was charged with Medicaid fraud last week in a separate 76-count indictment. He remains behind bars at the Federal Detention Center in Miami.
Senator Menendez has been a key voice on Capitol Hill to call for increased sanctions against Iran.