Lawyers for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recently asked that several of the counts in the indictment be thrown out because the investigation started after “unproven allegations” that Menendez has sex with underage prostitutes.
In response, the government says it has “corroborated” evidence of this misconduct, even though Menendez was not criminally charged with it. Paul Mulshine of The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, has a good account of this legal misstep.
Menendez lawyers did not challenge the counts in the indictment based on Menendez advocacy of a port security deal in the Dominican Republic that would have provided a windfall for his biggest donor and co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Mulshine also discusses the port deal and NLPC’s role in exposing it:
The guy who uncovered that was Tom Anderson of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative-leaning ethics watchdog group. Interestingly enough, it was not NLPC but the liberal-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that received those anonymous videos. Just who made those videos and why remains a mystery.
"I think it was somebody who had an ax to grind with Menendez," Anderson said. "I think they wanted to get him for some reason."
But that became irrelevant once the port deal was uncovered, said Anderson. He discovered it by looking into Senate proceedings in which the senator tried to stop the U.S. government from donating port-security equipment to the Dominican Republic to pave the way for Melgen's firm to get a lucrative contract.
When the New York Times published that story in 2013, "all hell broke loose," said Anderson.
"An eye doctor getting a port-security contract?" he said. "Why would you think an eye doctor would run security for a port in the Caribbean?"
More important, why would a senator from New Jersey advocate on behalf of a doctor from Miami.
Menendez distracted attention from that issue by expressing outrage at those salacious allegations. But when it comes to the meat of the indictment, "He doesn't want anybody looking at that because if you just look at it for a little while all these things pop up."