Corruption Charges Expected for Menendez

     MANHATTAN (CN) – U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez denied any wrongdoing Friday after CNN reported that the New Jersey Democrat is weeks away from being charged with “pushing the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.”
     Citing sources “briefed on the case by Attorney General Eric Holder,” CNN said prosecutors are focused on Menendez’s relationship with Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.
     Menendez reportedly had been Melgen’s guest on flights to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
     Prosecutors are said to be planning to file their complaint before the statute of limitations expire within weeks.
     Menendez’s spokeswoman the facts will confirm that “all of the senator’s actions have been appropriate and lawful.”
     “Any actions taken by Senator Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason,” spokeswoman Tricia Enright said in a statement.
     “The senator has counted Dr. Melgen as one of his closest personal friends for decades,” Enright added. “The two have spent holidays together and have gone to each other’s family funerals and weddings and have exchanged personal gifts.”
     Emphasizing that “the start of this investigation is suspect,” Enright added that the many false allegations made about this matter “were ultimately publicly discredited.”
     Since the official investigation is ongoing, Enright declined to “address allegations being made anonymously.”
     With more than two decades in public office, the Cuban-American Menendez assumed his current office in 2006, and he now serves as a top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
     Menendez’s vocal opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Havana and diplomatic overtures toward Tehran caused a well-publicized rift with the administration.
     His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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