Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is asking for an unlikely ally in his search to find out who paid a prostitute he never met to lie about him.
On Tuesday, Menendez urged reporters to dig as deeply into trying to find out who was behind the accusations as they did when they scrutinized his relationship with Florida eye doctor and political donor Salomon Melgen.
“I hope that you will all vigorously go after who was the source and purpose as you did go after the story at the time,” he told reporters.
“We’ll continue to look at it as it develops, but it is just a part of what I said all along was the case.
"Look, I don’t know more than what I have read. But I do know from the very beginning I have said that nameless, faceless, anonymous sources ... from the right-wing blogs took this story,” he added.
Menendez said the accusations were picked up by right-wing blogs to smear him as he faced reelection last year.
“They were never anything other than false smears,” he said.
It was reported Monday that Nexis de los Santos Santana, the escort who made the claims, had signed an affidavit admitting she was paid to make the accusation.
Menendez continues to have the backing of Senate Majority Leader harry Reid, D-Nev., who on Tuesday reiterated his complete support for him.
“I’m a friend of Bob Menendez,” Reid said.
“He’s a terrific senator and I stand behind him all the way.”
The recanting of the claim of sexual impropriety may bring some relief to Menendez, but he’s by no means out of the woods.
He still faces an Ethics Committee investigation into his relationship with Melgen, who took the senator on vacation to the Dominican Republic aboard his private plane.
Menendez has admitted reimbursing Melgen $58,500 for two flights to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
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