Federal investigation in New York against an influential Democratic senator

Federal investigation in New York against influential US Senator ;mocrate

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Influential Democratic Senator Robert Menendez is under investigation by federal justice in New York, five years after narrowly escaping a corruption conviction, the American press reported on Wednesday.  

The investigative site Semafor, picked up by numerous media, indicates that prosecutors from the federal prosecutor's office in southern New York State, Manhattan, are investigating the Democratic chairman of the commission Foreign Affairs of the Senate, without specifying the content.

“Senator Menendez knows that the press today is reporting an investigation, but he does not know the scope of it,” his political adviser Michael Soliman said in a statement sent to local media.

Neither he nor his spokesperson in the Senate responded to AFP's requests.

Mr. Menendez is at the disposal of potential investigators, assured his adviser.

Robert Menendez, 68, of Cuban origin born in New York, is a veteran politician in Washington. Elected Democrat for New Jersey to the House of Representatives between 1993 and 2006, then to the Senate, he chairs the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee there.

The elected official has already had trouble with federal justice .

Very rare for a senator, he was indicted for corruption in 2015, but his almost completed trial in 2017 was canceled due to lack of a unanimous jury verdict.

The following year, the Justice Department — under Republican President Donald Trump — asked a judge to drop all corruption charges against Robert Menendez.

He was accused of having used his office to defend the interests of a wealthy friend, ophthalmologist, businessman and donor from Florida, Salomon Melgen, in exchange for gifts and campaign funds.

The senator allegedly benefited from flights private jets, the loan of a villa in the Dominican Republic, three nights in a Parisian palace, meals, rounds of golf… and more than $750,000 in campaign donations.

< p>In exchange, according to justice at the time, Mr. Menendez would have helped Mr. Melgen to obtain a contract with the customs of the Dominican Republic, would have intervened so that foreign girlfriends of the doctor have American visas or to settle a dispute with the Department of Health.

The Washington Post recalls Wednesday i that Mr. Melgen, sentenced in 2017 to 17 years in prison for fraud, had been pardoned and released on January 20, 2021, the last day of the Trump presidency.