Senator Bob Menendez faces new federal investigation: report

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TRENTON, NJ — U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who avoided a corruption conviction five years ago, is facing a new federal investigation.

An adviser to the senator, Michael Soliman, acknowledged the investigation in a statement Wednesday.

“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported today, but he does not know the scope of the investigation,” he said. “As always, if formal requests are made, the senator is available to provide any assistance requested of him or his office.”

Startup news agency Semafor reported Wednesday that Manhattan-based federal prosecutors have contacted people linked to Menendez in recent weeks, citing two people familiar with the investigation.

Those people did not provide details about the subject matter of the investigation or the type of alleged wrongdoing.

The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment. Menendez’s Senate office referenced Soliman’s statement.

Menendez was indicted in 2015, accused of abusing his office to help a Florida eye doctor who gave him lavish gifts, including private jet trips to a Dominican resort and vacations in Paris.

Prosecutors said the senator lobbied government officials to resolve a Medicare billing dispute in a way favorable to doctor Salomon Melgen. They said Menendez also helped secure U.S. visas for the doctor’s girlfriends and worked to secure a contract that Melgen was to provide port screening equipment.

Menendez’s lawyers argued that Melgen’s gifts were tokens of their longtime friendship, not bribes. Menendez paid for some of the trips he took to the Dominican Republic resort town of Melgen.

A jury deadlocked on charges in 2017. Prosecutors declined to try Menendez again. The senator claimed his innocence and was re-elected in 2018.

Melgen was convicted of health care fraud in Florida, but former President Donald Trump commuted his sentence during his final days in office. A White House statement at the time credited Menend with mercy.

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