Top Democrat Charged With CORRUPTION – Facing Prison

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is about to head to trial on corruption charges over his repeated interventions with the federal government on behalf of a Florida donor. reported that Menendez is finally about to go to court two years after he was indicted on bribery and corruption charges. He has been accused of accepting extravagant gifts, expensive meals and golf outings from Dr. Salomon Melgen—as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations—in exchange for using the power of his office to lobby for his wealthy benefactor’s extensive financial and personal interests in Washington.

Melgen, who was convicted earlier this year in a separate Medicare fraud case in the Southern District of Florida, was charged along with Menendez and is on trial as well. Jury selection began today in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark. There, federal prosecutors plan to argue their case by giving details of the favors Melgen allegedly bestowed on Menendez, including a stay in Paris, vacations in the Dominican Republic and multiple trips on private corporate jets.

In contrast, defense attorneys will tell the jury of a 20-year bond of friendship between the two men that had little to do with politics. They claim that most of the indictment describes actions by Menendez’s staffers, rather than the senator himself, “and many involve trivial functions rather than official acts.”

Prosecutors, however, aren’t having any of it.

“The purpose of the conspiracy was for the defendants to use Menendez’s official position as a United States Senator to benefit and enrich themselves through bribery,” the indictment said, including flights on private jets, use of a Caribbean villa, and a trip to Paris.

“Menendez withheld information from his senate staff to conceal the extent of his official action on Melgen,” prosecutors alleged.

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