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US Prepares Corruption Charges Against New Jersey Senator

  • VOA News

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. addresses fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, Jan. 27, 2015.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. addresses fellow members of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, Jan. 27, 2015.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said he is "not going anywhere" following media reports that the Justice Department is preparing to file corruption charges against him.

Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, told reporters in his home state Friday that he has always conducted himself "in accordance with the law."

"Every action that I and my office have taken for the last 23 years that I have been privileged to be in the United States Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and this entire country,'' he said.

Officials familiar with the case told U.S. media outlets Friday that the Justice Department charges against Menendez center on allegations that he used his office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend.

CNN, which first reported the news, said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors' requests to proceed with charges. It said an announcement could come within weeks.

The Justice Department has declined to comment on the report.

A statement issued by Menendez's office Friday said many false allegations have been made about the senator's ties with a Florida ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

“As we have said before, we believe all of the Senator's actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that. Any actions taken by Senator Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason," Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright said in the statement.

Menendez has been accused of breaking the law in advocating for Melgen's business interest in a contract for port screening equipment in the Dominican Republic. He also is accused of helping his friend to over bill Medicare, the government run health program for the elderly.

Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has become one of the most vocal Democratic critics of President Barack Obama's foreign policy dealings with Cuba and Iran.


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