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Grand jury issues no charges against Menendez

MIAMI – Federal agents descended on the clinic of a South Florida eye doctor close to Sen. Robert Menendez in January – a dark-of-night raid that soon spiraled into a string of national news stories about trips on the physician’s private plane to the Dominican Republic and scandalous allegations of trysts with underage prostitutes.

Nearly a year later, the politically explosive allegations against the New Jersey Democrat have proved to be duds so far.

After subpoenaing records and witnesses, a federal grand jury in Miami has filed no charges against Menendez, a prominent Cuban American lawmaker, or his friend and major campaign donor, Salomon Melgen, according to several sources familiar with the probe.

But the grand jury is still reviewing evidence of Menendez’s intervening with U.S. government officials on behalf of Melgen regarding the physician’s billing dispute with Medicare and his port-security contract in the Dominican Republic.

And Melgen’s legal problems are also far from over. Only two months ago, agents with the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services conducted another search of Melgen’s West Palm Beach clinic, Vitreo-Retinal Consultants – a second raid stemming from a separate ongoing battle with authorities over his prolific Medicare billing.

For Menendez, a pronouncement that the grand jury probe of the alleged trysts had come to naught would be a public vindication from what he once called a “fallacious” smear campaign orchestrated by a right-wing blog hoping to derail his reelection bid.

But that won’t be coming.

Anonymous sources originally leaked that a grand jury investigation, which is supposed to be secret under federal law, had been launched to examine Menendez’s conduct. But unless an indictment is issued, the results of federal grand jury investigations remain confidential – even when they don’t bring charges against the targets of their probes.

The Senate Select Committee on Ethics, which could open an inquiry into Menendez’s unreported gifts from Melgen, won’t comment as a matter of policy.

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Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 28, 2017 at 5:30 PM
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