Booker Sits in Front Row for Menendez's Corruption Trial, Greets Him With Hug

Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) / Getty
September 6, 2017

Sen. Cory Booker showed up for the start of Sen. Robert Menendez's bribery trial on Wednesday to support his fellow New Jersey Democrat.

Booker sat in the front row right behind Menendez, according to the New York Post.

Menendez is charged with 12 corruption-related counts, including six counts of bribery. Federal prosecutors allege that his longtime friend Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida ophthalmologist who was convicted of defrauding Medicare for millions of dollars in a separate case, gave Menendez lavish gifts and large campaign donations while the senator used his office to benefit Melgen.

New York Times reporter Nick Corasaniti tweeted that Booker greeted Menendez "with a hand shake and a hug" at the trial.

Mendez acted as Melgen's "personal United States senator" in exchange "for a lifestyle that was a travel brochure for the rich and famous," Department of Justice prosecutor Peter Koski said in his opening statement.

"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 weeklong getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years," prosecutors wrote last week in a court filing.