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Sen. Robert Menendez Faces a New Federal Investigation

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) faces a new federal investigation, Semafor reports. Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have contacted people connected to Menendez in recent weeks, and have sent at least one subpoena. Michael Soliman, an advisor to Menendez, said the senator "is aware of an investigation that was reported on today, however he does not know the scope of the investigation." Menendez and a Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, were indicted in 2015 for an alleged arrangement under which the doctor provided flights and lavish vacations in exchange for the senator's help with government contracts and other public favors. Menendez's lawyers argued that the two men were good friends. The inquiry ended in a mistrial in 2017 after the jury failed to reach a verdict. Instead, Melgen was convicted in 2017 of Medicare fraud and received clemency from President Trump in 2021.

Public corruption cases present special obstacles since a 2016 decision in which the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, ruling that prosecutors must find explicit evidence of gifts and donations that were tied to official actions. In 2015, charges against Menendez were brought to the DOJ Public Integrity Section after a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey handed the case off. The Southern District of New York traditionally operates independently.


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