Speaker Bob Menendez (D-NJ) speaks during a Senate foreign relations hearing to examine U.S.-Russian policy, on Capitol Hill, Washington, December 7, 2021.
Alex Brandon | Swimming pool | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Senator Robert MendezDN.J., is under federal criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, according to two people familiar with the matter and a spokesperson for the senator.
“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported today, but he does not know the scope of the investigation,” Menendez adviser Michael Soliman said in a statement Wednesday.
Soliman added, “As always, if formal requests are made, the senator is available to provide any assistance requested of him or his office.”
News of the investigation was first reported by the website Semafor.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.
Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was indicted in 2015 for federal corruption charges of illegally accepting favors from a Florida ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, including private jet flights to stay at Melgen’s resort in the Dominican Republic, three nights in a five-star hotel in Paris and more than $700,000 in political contributions for Menendez as well as the Democratic Party.
This case ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Several jurors later told reporters they believed the government’s evidence was unconvincing.
Federal prosecutors decided in 2018 not to try again the senator.
Menendez is not eligible for re-election until 2024. He has served in the Senate since 2006 and has previously served in the House.