The Latest: Menendez staffer grilled about ethics forms
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy friend (all times local):
Prosecutors in the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez are attacking the defense’s claims that the New Jersey Democrat inadvertently failed to disclose trips on a donor’s private jet.
The trips are part of the bribery and fraud indictment against Menendez and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen (MEHL’-gehn).
A government prosecutor on Wednesday grilled Menendez’s deputy chief of staff who filled out the forms. Robert Kelly testified he thought gifts from a friend were exempt from reporting requirements.
A Justice Department attorney noted it was Menendez’s obligation to file the forms correctly.
Prosecutors allege Menendez accepted the flights and other gifts in exchange for lobbying government officials on behalf of Melgen’s business interests.
Menendez later reimbursed Melgen for the flights.
Testimony at the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has touched on an unconfirmed story about underage prostitutes that prompted the investigation into the New Jersey Democrat.
A conservative website made the allegation before the 2012 election, and it was later discredited. It led authorities to probe Menendez’s relationship with a wealthy doctor now on trial with him.
Jurors didn’t hear details of the allegations Wednesday. Menendez’s deputy chief of staff testified the report led him to comb through the senator’s travel records, including trips to the Dominican Republic to visit Salomon Melgen (MEHL’-gehn).
Menendez later reimbursed Melgen for flights on Melgen’s private jet.
Menendez is charged with accepting the flights and other gifts from Melgen in exchange for lobbying government officials on behalf of Melgen’s business interests.
Testimony at the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is focused on the details of a $300,000 political contribution by a donor who is also on trial.
An indictment accuses Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen of bribing the New Jersey Democrat in exchange for political influence.
Jurors already have heard about two $300,000 contributions Melgen made to a political action committee that supported Democrats.
On Wednesday, prosecutors sought to show the first $300,000 contribution was solicited by a longtime Menendez associate, though the political action committee was supposed to be separate from the campaign.
Menendez is charged with accepting flights on Melgen’s private jet and other gifts in exchange for helping Melgen in an $8.9 million Medicare dispute and a stalled port security contract in the Dominican Republic.