An expected federal indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez could be handed up by a grand jury as early as Wednesday, Politico reports.
Menendez, a Democrat, has been under investigation by the Justice Department and the FBI over his role in using his office to assist a friend and wealthy campaign financier in billing negotiations with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
That friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, had been charged by CMS, the agency that rules the nation's Medicare program, with overbilling it by nearly $9 million, Politico noted.
Melgen, who has denied improprieties, has since paid the money back, but sources told The Associated Press that he, too, could also face a federal indictment.
In 2012, the AP noted,
citing government data, Melgen had been the recipient of more Medicare reimbursements than any other doctor in the U.S.
Menendez, who has served in Congress since 1993 and who joined the Senate in 2006, has faced close scrutiny by the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department, which is charged with reviewing corruption allegations against elected officials, Politico said. The breadth of its case is unknown.
Menendez, who has been critical of the Obama administration, has said publicly that he has done nothing wrong and hired a legal team to defend him as he fights back against the federal probe.
"Let me be very clear: I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. And I'm not going anywhere," the senator said during a press conference in Newark on March 6," New Jersey Advance Media reported.
His spokeswoman, Tricia Enright, told Politico she would not comment on "the latest improper and illegal leak from the DOJ."
Menendez came under deeper investigation in 2013 after he admitted to using Melgen's private jet on trips, including to the Dominican Republic. The senator later reimbursed Melgen for multiple flights totaling nearly $70,000, the AP said.
Federal prosecutors have aggressively sought the doctor's help on the Menendez case, The New York Times reported last week,
noting the test of their friendship and the high stakes of the investigation, which "could end Mr. Menendez’s political career or be an embarrassing, high-profile loss for the Justice Department."
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