The decade's most triggering comedy
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NY), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is reportedly under federal criminal investigation again just a few years after standing trial on corruption charges.
The details of what the investigation centers around are not clear, but attorney Antranig Aslanian Jr, who knows Menendez, was subpoenaed by the Southern District of New York and said in an interview that prosecutors wanted to know about the senator’s interactions with people who he knew, and they asked about a company “authorized to certify halal meat for export.”
“Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today,” said Menendez adviser Michael Soliman. “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,” Soliman added.
In 2015, Menendez was indicted on bribery charges for allegedly accepting “luxury vacations, golf outings, campaign donations and expensive flights” from Florida physician Salomon Melgen in exchange for political favors. A federal jury in Florida convicted Melgen in April of “67 charges for operating what prosecutors called a massive scheme that robbed Medicare out of as much as $105 million,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
Prosecutors began investigating Menendez when they were tipped off in 2012 that Menendez was allegedly having sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
The jury was split in the trial and a mistrial was declared.
The DOJ was set to recharge Menendez when the judge dismissed 7 of the 18 charges against him, the report said.
A separate report from Semafor said that the new criminal case against Menendez mirrors the prior criminal case that Menendez faced.
The report noted that federal prosecutors rarely ever lose in court and so the fact that they are bringing a new criminal case against Menendez “after its humiliating public failure to convict him” likely means that they believe they have a stronger case this time.
When a mistrial was declared during the first criminal case, Menendez resorted to implying that racists were the reason he came under investigation.
“Certain elements of the FBI and of our state cannot stand, or even worse, accept that the Latino kid from Union City and Hudson County could grow up to be a United States senator and be honest,” Menendez said while standing outside the courthouse after U.S. District Court Judge William Walls — a Clinton-era federal judge — declared a mistrial.
Menendez later appeared to make a veiled threat against political opponents who he faced during the trial, saying, “I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.”