Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) was indicted on federal corruption charges on Wednesday.
The New York Times reports:
Recent Stories in Politics
Mr. Menendez was charged with eight counts of bribery, which carry up to 15 years in prison on each charge. He was also charged with conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements on government documents, the Justice Department said.
Mr. Menendez is the first senator to face federal bribery charges since another New Jersey Democrat, Harrison A. Williams Jr., was indicted in 1980 in the Abscam scandal.
The charges had long been expected and Mr. Menendez, a 61-year-old Democrat of New Jersey, has promised to fight them. He has offered no indication that he plans to step down or relinquish any power while he goes through that process.
The case involves Mr. Menendez’s longtime friendship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye surgeon and political benefactor. The two men became friends in the 1990s and have spent holidays together in the Dominican Republic, where Dr. Melgen, 60, has a home in the gated oceanfront resort of Casa de Campo.
Prosecutors say Dr. Melgen lavished the senator with gifts, including two round-trip flights worth $58,000 aboard his private jet. In turn, prosecutors say that Mr. Menendez used his Senate seat to help Dr. Melgen when he, as a member of the Finance Committee, encouraged the Obama administration to change the Medicare reimbursement policy in a way that would make millions for the doctor.