Five years after escaping a corruption conviction, Democrat Robert Menendez is again facing federal justice. The influential American senator is under investigation in New York, his political adviser Michael Soliman confirmed on Wednesday: “Senator Menendez knows that the press today is reporting an investigation, but he does not know the scope. .” He specified that the senator was at the disposal of possible investigators.
The Semafor investigation site, taken up by numerous American media, indicates that prosecutors from the federal prosecutor’s office in southern New York State, in Manhattan, are investigating Robert Mendenez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, without specify its content.
Re-elected for a six-year term in November 2018, he is not affected by the mid-term legislative elections of November 8 which will see a third of the Senate renewed.
Prosecuted for corruption
Robert Menendez, 68, of Cuban origin born in New York, is a veteran politician in Washington. Elected Democrat for New Jersey to the House of Representatives between 1993 and 2006, then to the Senate, he chairs the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee there.
The elected official has already had trouble with federal justice. Very rare for a senator, he had been indicted for corruption in 2015 but his trial almost ended in 2017 had been canceled for lack of a unanimous verdict from the jurors.
The following year, the Justice Department – under Republican President Donald Trump – asked a judge to drop all corruption charges against Robert Menendez. He was accused of having used his position to defend the interests of a wealthy friend, ophthalmologist, businessman and donor from Florida, Salomon Melgen, in exchange for gifts and campaign funding. The senator would have benefited from free flights in private jets, the loan of a villa in the Dominican Republic, three nights in a Parisian palace, meals, rounds of golf and more than 750,000 dollars in campaign donations.
In exchange, according to justice at the time, Robert Menendez would have helped Salomon Melgen to obtain a contract with the customs of the Dominican Republic, would have intervened so that foreign girlfriends of the doctor have American visas or to settle a dispute with the Ministry of Health.
the washington post recalls, Wednesday, that Salomon Melgen, sentenced in 2017 to 17 years in prison for fraud, had been pardoned and released on January 20, 2021, the last day of the Trump presidency.