It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A federal judge has rejected Senator Robert Menendez’s request to allow breaks in his corruption trial beginning next Wednesday so the New Jersey Democrat could travel to Washington to cast critical Senate votes.
In a decision made public on Friday, U.S. District Judge William Walls in Newark, New Jersey, rejected Menendez’s claim that he deserved special treatment because he had a “constitutional duty” to be in Washington for his constituents.
Walls said he suspected the request was part of a strategy to “impress the jurors” with Menendez’s importance, but that it was speculative to suggest the senator would miss key votes.
Menendez, 63, is charged with accepting improper campaign donations and gifts, including luxury trips and private jet flights, from co-defendant Salomon Melgen in exchange for lobbying on the wealthy Florida ophthalmologist’s behalf.
Sen. Robert Menendez may have had sex with underage hookers in Dominican Republic: prosecutors
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid personally asked the Obama administration to help a Florida eye doctor who was accused of paying Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to the Department of Justice.
Reid has his own relationship with Melgen. The former Senate majority leader flew on Melgen’s private plane in 2012 from Washington, D.C., to Boston for a Majority PAC event, a political action committee whose purpose is to help expand and keep a Democratic majority in the Senate. In addition to the flight, Melgen donated $600,000 to Majority PAC.
In the courtroom, Judge William Walls did not allow Dr. Melgen’s girlfriends to be referred to as “girlfriends,” only “friendship” was acknowledged, fooling no one. In a bizarre filing before the trial opened, the government worked hard to portray the senator and the wealthy doctor as two dirty old men living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Dr. Melgen wanted to bring his young “foreign girlfriends to the United States to visit him,” the document notes. The women were “from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Ukraine.” Senator Menendez helped with the visas. Dr. Melgen arranged for Mr. Menendez and his girlfriend (oh by the way both men are married) “to stay in Punta Cana, an exclusive oceanside resort town” in the Dominican Republic.
On other occasions, the two men and their, er, friends, enjoyed vacations “at Melgen’s villa at Casa de Campo, a cloistered resort on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic with renowned golf courses, a spa, polo fields, a marina, restaurants and other amenities.” The trial brief describes an “enclave, venerated for its seclusion” and “frequently visited by luminaries in sports, entertainment and business, including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Richard Branson and Bill Gates.” Elsewhere in the brief, the government notes that with assistance for Dr. Melgen, Mr. Menendez stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Paris, “one of Europe’s most elite, routinely hosting celebrities from the world over, including the likes of George Clooney and Maria Sharapova.”
It’s unclear what relation Beyonce and George Clooney have to the case, but eventually the trial will get down to narrow matters of law.