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Longtime Democratic Senator Under Federal Criminal Investigation

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Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is the subject of a federal criminal investigation in New York, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

News of the federal probe was first reported Wednesday morning by the website Semafor. Menendez adviser Michael Soliman later confirmed to other media outlets — including Politico and CBS News — that there is indeed an investigation.

“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today,” Soliman said, according to Politico. “However, he does not know the scope of the investigation. As always, should any official inquiries be made, the Senator is available to provide any assistance that is requested of him or his office.”

Semafor’s report, which cited two people familiar with the investigation, said the “broad outlines of the new inquiry” by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are similar to one that led to criminal charges against Menendez a few years ago.

In 2015, the senator and Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, were indicted in an alleged bribery and corruption scheme.

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According to a Justice Department news release at the time, “between January 2006 and January 2013, Menendez accepted close to $1 million worth of lavish gifts and campaign contributions from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to influence the outcome of ongoing contractual and Medicare billing disputes worth tens of millions of dollars to Melgen and to support the visa applications of several of Melgen’s girlfriends.”

Menendez claimed his actions were just those of a friend.

Neither was convicted of the charges. The case ended in a mistrial in 2017, and the charges were dropped in 2018.

That same year, Melgen was sentenced to 17 years in prison for Medicare fraud. However, then-President Donald Trump pardoned him in January 2021 before leaving office.

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According to Semafor, while the new investigation of the senator covers similar territory as the earlier one, it involves “an entirely different group of people.”

Menendez, 68, is a career politician, entering the Senate in 2006 after seven terms in the U.S. House and several years in state and local office. He is up for re-election in 2024.

Many on Twitter reacted to the news that the Democrat is once again facing a federal inquiry.

“Yikes. Sen Menendez again under federal investigation and supposedly similar to charges producing a mistrial in 2015, which involved supposed trade of flights and vacations to friend for help with government contracts,” Los Angeles Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman tweeted.

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“It’s more newsworthy when Senator Robert Menendez is not under criminal investigation than when he is,” one user tweeted.

The New Jersey Republican Party said, “Classic @BobMenendezNJ. This should surprise nobody. He is as corrupt as the day is long.”

Neither Menendez nor the Justice Department has made any public comments on the investigation.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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