Senator Menendez could face 15 years in prison
US Senator Robert Menendez will possibly face 15 years in prison if being convicted for using his position to help affluent donor Salomon Melgen in exchange for almost $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions.
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.
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.