New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez (D) has defiantly declared that he’s “not going anywhere” after he was slammed with corruption charges stemming from his alleged acceptance of nearly $1 million worth of gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors.
The 61-year-old United States Senator, who served as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until January of this year when he was succeeded by Bob Corker, was first appointed to the Senate in January of 2006.
Menendez, who is expected to appear in federal court in Newark on Thursday in response to the recent corruption charges levied against him by federal prosecutors, has been accused of accepting gifts from a longtime friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Dr. Melgen is, according to a Washington Post report, a wealthy Florida eye doctor and longtime friend of the embattled Jersey senator.
Prosecutors allege Melgen provided the senator with golf trips, airline travel, luxury vacations and tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to a legal defense fund in exchange for political favors.
Melgen’s medical offices were raided by federal authorities back in 2013.
Justice Department prosecutors, who have been investigating the connection between the two for years, will have to prove that the friendship between the two close friends was used for criminal purposes.
The criminal charges, which were levied against the politician on Wednesday, include bribery, conspiracy and false statements; a total of 14 counts in all. The grand jury indictment also charges Melgen and other Democrats.
In light of the recent accusations of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, the Democratic Senator is to temporarily step down from his position, according to a Bloomberg News report.
In a press conference held by the politician, the defiant Menendez told a crowd of cheering supporters and reporters that this is not how his career would end. He was quoted by Philly in a report as having said during the conference that he’s “angry and ready to fight because today contradicts my public service and my entire life.”
I am not going anywhere. I’m angry and ready to fight because today contradicts my public service and my entire life.
In exchange for gifts which include round-trip flights to the Dominican Republic on the doctor’s luxury jet, the Jersey politician allegedly worked to protect a lucrative cargo screening service contract which Melgen held, intervened on the eye doctor’s behalf in a Medicare billing dispute worth millions of dollars, and even sought to smooth over the visa application process for some of the doctor’s foreign girlfriends.
After a round of golf between the two friends back in 2013, prosecutors allege that Menendez exercised his political power for the doctor’s benefit as he told his chief counsel to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency in order to request that the agency cease the donation of shipping container monitoring and surveillance equipment to the Dominican Republic.
In other recent coverage here on Immortal News of political corruption around the world, Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is already facing six-years in prison after he was convicted on corruption charges last May, was found guilty of accepting illegal payments from a U.S. businessman in a separate corruption case levied against him.
What are your thoughts on New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez’s corruption charges?