For years I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that Democrat Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was as corrupt as they come. (See here, and here.)
Finally, a full two years after being indicted on federal corruption charges and many years after first being linked to that corruption, Bob Menendez is getting his day in court. If there is any justice left in the American courts, we’ll soon see the Senator from New Jersey behind bars in a federal penitentiary.
On Wednesday the government’s prosecutors filed a document with the court that laid out their case against Menendez and should serve to begin preparing the way for his future conviction.
The prosecutors explained that Dr. Salomon Melgen spent years bribing his good friend with hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish gifts, sometimes offered freely and other times demanded by Menendez.
The defendants’ bribery scheme began shortly after Menendez’s elevation to the Senate in 2006, when Melgen began a pattern of treating Menendez to weekend and week-long getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years. For the first four years of the corruption scheme, the all-expense paid trips Melgen provided often included free roundtrip flights on Melgen’s private jet for Menendez and his various guests. When the doctor’s private jet was unavailable, Melgen supplied equally luxurious travel for the Senator.
The government further argues that while Menendez never made any effort to pay Melgen back with money, he did pay him back by advocating for him with other government officials and departments.
Although Menendez did not pay Melgen back for the lavish gifts in money, he did pay him back using the currency of his Senate office to take official action to benefit the South Florida doctor. Email exchanges between the defendants, their agents, and officials from Executive Branch agencies will show Menendez’s considerable efforts to pressure the Executive Branch on Melgen’s behalf. And testimony from the agency officials over whom he exerted that pressure will illuminate the relentlessness of those efforts.
The government also has proof that over the years, as they continued to get away with their crimes, the two men grew more aggressive and bold in their corruption.
The Government’s evidence will show that, eventually, Melgen’s bribes to Menendez grew to include more than just private flights and luxury vacations, and Menendez’s official acts moved beyond merely advancing Melgen’s personal interests and placing phone calls to Executive Branch officials. The Government will offer emails, checks, mail receipts, a ledger, FEC records, and testimony from fundraising personnel showing that, in just a five month-period spanning May to October 2012, Melgen gave $771,500 to Menendez’s legal defense fund and assorted campaign Case 2:15-cr-00155-WHW Document 204 Filed 08/30/17 Page 8 of 30 PageID: 4305 9 committees fueling the New Jersey Senator’s reelection bid, and did so in a manner that obscured the relationship between benefactor and beneficiary. In return, as emails, memoranda, and witness testimony will show, Menendez performed his most aggressive and pointed advocacy, including personally meeting with and pressuring a Cabinet Secretary and an Assistant Secretary of State, to advance financial interests that implicated tens of millions of dollars in profit for the Florida doctor.
After reading over the government’s case the situation looks bleak for Menendez. The government has reams of documentation and evidence of his corrupt interactions with Melgen and his associates. To make matters worse for Menendez, part of his defense rests on the notion that he was being persecuted by the Obama administration for opposing Obama’s Cuba policies. While I wouldn’t put it past Obama to be vindictive enough to do such a thing, the evidence speaks for itself, Menendez was involved in some shady activities and the government is right to pursue this case. Prosecutors explained as much to the court in their conclusion: “This case is about serious questions of fact and law related to the corruption of one of the highest elected offices in the United States government. It is not about anonymous tips, Cuba, Iran, party politics, or the political consequences of a conviction. The question of whether the defendants engaged in a corrupt scheme cannot be answered by the defendants’ conspiracy theories.”
It’s time for Menendez’ reign of corruption to end. Here’s hoping that the government makes their case and that justice is finally served.