Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey is the subject of a federal criminal investigation in New York, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
News of the federal probe was first reported Wednesday morning by the website Semafor. Menendez adviser Michael Soliman later confirmed to other media outlets — including Politico and CBS News — that there is indeed an investigation.
“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today,” Soliman said, according to Politico. “However, he does not know the scope of the investigation. As always, should any official inquiries be made, the Senator is available to provide any assistance that is requested of him or his office.”
Semafor’s report, which cited two people familiar with the investigation, said the “broad outlines of the new inquiry” by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are similar to one that led to criminal charges against Menendez a few years ago.
In 2015, the senator and Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, were indicted in an alleged bribery and corruption scheme.
According to a Justice Department news release at the time, “between January 2006 and January 2013, Menendez accepted close to $1 million worth of lavish gifts and campaign contributions from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to influence the outcome of ongoing contractual and Medicare billing disputes worth tens of millions of dollars to Melgen and to support the visa applications of several of Melgen’s girlfriends.”
Menendez claimed his actions were just those of a friend.
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According to Semafor, while the new investigation of the senator covers similar territory as the earlier one, it involves “an entirely different group of…