A federal grand jury handed down a 14-count indictment against Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez on Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors filed a 68-page indictment at a court in New Jersey that is just rife with accusations that Menendez traded his political influence for fancy gifts and hundreds of thousands of dollars he used for his legal defense and his political campaigns.
The case centers around Menendez and Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and the senator's friend and donor.
We'll start with some of what Menendez allegedly received from Melgen. First how Menendez allegedly received a three-night stay at a hotel in Paris and that is followed by a $600,000 donation to a political action committee:
One of the ways that Menendez allegedly paid Melgen back for his largesse was to help his girlfriends get U.S. visas. In the case of a Brazilian girlfriend, Menendez' staff allegedly wrote a letter of support to an official at the Department of State. The girlfriend was quickly given a student visa and Melgen then provided her with a "scholarship" to the University of Miami:
The second case highlighted involves Melgen's Dominican girlfriend. Her visa application was denied, but Menendez' office allegedly corrected the issue by stepping in aggressively. This is a long excerpt, but worth a read:
The accusations above are the salacious stuff. There are two allegations that seem more serious. We'll start with one in which Menendez allegedly uses his influence to try and sway the State Department into pressuring the Dominican Republic to hand a Melgen-owned company a contract to screen cargo as it comes into the country. At one point, Menendez allegedly threatens an assistant secretary of state with a public hearing if they don't get the contract moving:
In another similar incident, Menendez' staff allegedly sent a note to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to try to delay the donation of screening machines to authorities in the Dominican Republic. The implication was that if the country had its own screening machines it would not need to contract with Melgen's company. It was all for naught, because CBP told Menendez and his staff that it did not have any plans like that in works. Instead, CBP said in an email, the Dominican Republic was getting more equipment from a private company, which they named as the one owned by Melgen: