Economy

USA senator in court over luxury travel bribe charges

USA senator in court over luxury travel bribe charges”

"Not once have I dishonored my public office", Menendez said on his way into court. Sen.

Koski also accused Menendez of intervening in an alleged $8.9 million billing dispute over Medicare and of pushing Dominican Republic officials to honor Melgen's security screening shipping contract with the country's ports.

Prosecutors claim Democrat Robert Menendez, 63, used his position as New Jersey senator to pursue the interests of wealthy Florida businessman and ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. "There's no friendship exception to breaking the law".

Among the gifts prosecutors say Melgen gave Menendez were flights on the doctor's private jet, vacations at his private villa in the Dominican Republic frequented by celebrities like Beyoncé and JAY-Z, and a three-night stay at a luxury Paris hotel valued at almost $5,000.

Not one of the evening shows on the Big Three broadcast networks touched the beginning of the trial, which heated up when the judge in the case told Menendez's lawyer to "shut up". The two men met in the early 1990s and are close friends, defense attorneys say.

Similarly, Menendez's interest in port security in the Dominican Republic stemmed from a concern that potential US -supplied screening equipment wouldn't be used correctly, he said.

"A bribery case is not a mix-and-match event", he said. He will resume Thursday.

Jurors will have to wade through complex legal concepts, including whether Menendez's interactions with executive branch officials were "official acts" as defined under federal bribery statutes.

The Latest on the corruption trial of U.S. Sen.

Before coming into court, Menendez made what his aide said will be his last statement until the trial is over, CBS New York reports. His conviction was overturned after a Justice Department investigation concluded prosecutors had committed misconduct.

"Robert Menendez was Salomon Melgen's personal USA senator", Koski said in a wood-paneled courtroom packed with attorneys, reporters, and supporters of Menendez including Cory Booker, the junior senator from New Jersey and a fellow Democrat.

Ogrosky said Melgen offered flights out of an ethos of hospitality rooted in his Dominican culture, and that Menendez often paid his own way to visit the doctor at his villa in the Caribbean nation during the same period as the free trips the government characterizes as bribes.

Before court began, Menendez stood outside the courthouse, flanked by his two adult children and at times choking back tears.

"And I believe when all the facts are known, I will be vindicated".



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