Wednesday afternoon it was announced that New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted on federal public corruption charges, though he has vehemently denied any allegations of wrongdoing. Prosecutors claim Menendez acted improperly by helping Salomon Melgen during Melgen's argument over Medicare charges and an attempt to earn a port security contract in the Dominican Republic, The Washington Post reports. Menendez, who considers the Floridan doctor a personal friend as well as a campaign contributor, has repeatedly said any gifts he received from Melgen were due to their longstanding friendship.
According to the Associated Press, Menendez has been charged with 14 corruption counts, which include bribery and conspiracy. The indictment stems from a long investigation into whether Menendez acted improperly by assisting Melgen, who has a private jet on which Menendez admitted he flew several times, though he says he reimbursed the doctor for the cost of the flights. Menendez insists that though his actions might have benefited Melgen in the long run, they were not wrong. He said they've been friends for a long time. According to the AP, Menendez once said:
We celebrated holidays together. We have been there for family weddings and sad times like funerals and have given each other birthday, holiday and wedding presents, just as friends do.
CNN reports that federal officials and Menendez's attorneys have made plans for Menendez to turn himself in before a court hearing Thursday, though both sides' spokespeople declined to confirm or comment.
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