The Washington Post reported Friday night that a team of FBI agents has traveled to the Dominican Republic in recent weeks to investigate the prostitution claims, which Menendez has vehemently denied. Federal agents in Florida are also interviewing potential witnesses and gathering evidence in the case.
No evidence was found to back up the prostitution allegations involving Menendez, the Washington Post said.
But this latest development is still potentially troubling for Menendez. The New Jersey Democrat is already under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee over his interactions with Melgen, including several unreported flights on Melgen’s private plane to the Dominican Republic. Menendez recently shelled out $58,500 from his own pocket to cover the cost of two of those flights.
Menendez aides and allies have been privately asserting that Melgen, not Menendez, is the subject of scrutiny by the Justice Department. Yet it is clear now that Menendez himself is being looked at by criminal investigators.
Menendez has also intervened on Melgen’s behalf in a Medicare fraud case involving the doctor, as well as contacting senior officials in the State, Commerce and Homeland Security departments related to a port-security contract in the Dominican Republic for a Melgen-owned company. Menendez has denied any improper or unethical actions in advocating for Melgen with U.S. government officials.
Melgen’s office in West Palm Beach was recently raided by FBI agents and investigators from the Health and Human Service Department’s Office of Inspector General as part of the Medicare fraud investigation. (Continues)