As the fake prostitution scandal surrounding U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) continues to unravel, a judge in the Dominican Republic has requested the senator’s presence in court. Shortly before last year’s election, Menendez was falsely accused of paying Dominican women for sex, with interviews from several women who claimed that they had sex with a man matching the senator’s name and description.
Last week, a Dominican lawyer named Miguel Galvan confirmed that those interviews were staged. One of the women interviewed in the original story published by the Daily Caller, a conservative new source, also said that she was asked to fake her involvement, and told to read a script describing her encounter with Menendez. Both the woman and Galvan linked lawyer Melanio Figueroa to the scheme to falsify the interviews.
Though the Daily Caller broke the story just six days before the November election, Menendez managed to defeat his Republican opponent, Joe Kyrillos. Operatives working on behalf of the GOP helped ABC News arrange interviews with three women implicated in the scandal, but the news source reports that none of them were able to prove their identity, and that their stories were almost exactly the same.
“I have no idea who is behind these efforts, but I hope that the press will pursue them as vigorously to find out who was behind these efforts as they did in the first place,” Menendez said Tuesday according to ABC. “All I know is obviously there must be interests were trying to defeat me in my election and who obviously did not want to see me in my role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
Figueroa has denied any involvement in the plan to falsify the interviews, and may file charges against his accusers. The Dominican lawyer represented the two women involved in the original Daily Caller story.
“Now I’m hearing that I supposedly gave them a script to read,” Figueroa told the New York Times Tuesday. “Now I am considering legal action too, because they are making accusations against me when I didn’t do anything that they are saying.”
The allegations against Menendenz led to an alleged FBI investigation of the senator and campaign donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, who was accused of hosting sex parties in the Dominical Republic. As a result, Menendez is also under investigation from the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee for three years of undisclosed flights paid for by Melgen. The senator has since reimbursed Melgen for $58,000 and amended his financial statements to reflect the flights.