Tags: menendez | justice | bribery | grand jury

Sen. Menendez: Govt 'Falsified' Testimony in Bribery Case

Image: Sen. Menendez: Govt 'Falsified' Testimony in Bribery Case
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By    |   Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 08:18 AM

The criminal case against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is built on lies perpetuated by Justice Department officials who will "stop at nothing" to take down the politician, according to defense filings in the case, The Washington Post reports.

In a 400-page filing in the conspiracy, bribery and fraud case against Menendez — he’s accused of accepting lavish gifts, vacations and upward of $750,000 in political donations from longtime friend Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors — the senator’s lawyers allege that the prosecutor knowingly allowed an FBI agent to present false grand jury testimony.

"According to the defense documents, the lead prosecutor allowed an FBI agent to falsely testify to the grand jury that (Health and Human Services) officials were 'perfectly clear' that Menendez had been seeking favorable treatment for his friend," the Post reports. "In contrast, defense lawyers argued, internal FBI memos showed the officials saying that they couldn’t recall Menendez mentioning Melgen, and one said she wasn’t sure what Menendez specifically wanted."

The Justice Department accuses Menendez of intervening on Melgen’s behalf — the ophthalmologist was being investigated for over-billing Medicare — with former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

Yet "Tavenner said they did 'not specifically discuss Melgen' and she at least twice noted that she could not remember if his name even came up," according to the Post, which cites an excerpt of an FBI memo.

"Sebelius 'said she could not recall whether Melgen’s name specifically came up during the meeting,' another memo said. She 'could not recall what Menendez specifically wanted.'"

Menendez is also accused of trying to help Melgen secure a port-security contract in the Dominican Republic.

In order to convict the senator, the prosecution must prove Melgen’s gifts were given "in exchange for specific actions, not just to help an old friend," a former federal prosecutor told The Wall Street Journal in April.


"I think the government’s real challenge here is going to be overcoming the friendship evidence," the former prosecutor, Adam Lurie, told the Journal. "Doing something for a friend is not a crime, and doing something because you also have a real policy concern about something is not a crime. And I think the government is going to have to deal with both of those issues here."

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Politics
The criminal case against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is built on lies perpetuated by Justice Department officials who will "stop at nothing" to take down the politician, according to defense filings in the case, The Washington Post reports.
menendez, justice, bribery, grand jury
379
2015-18-21
Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 08:18 AM
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