As our nation’s capital becomes, well, swampier, the mainstream media is ignoring another major news story. I mean it’s not President Trump calling a grieving widow or anything but, remember Senator Bob Menendez? The New Jersey Democrat who recently went to trial in federal court facing bribery charges?
By Pat Merriman
CBS, ABC and NBC, apparently forgot! I thought our fourth estate’s purpose was truth, justice and the public’s right to be informed. Not so much? Because, you’ll recall that the Obama Justice Department brought these charges, so, it must REALLY be bad. I mean with them missing Russia, the Clinton Foundation, uranium and that whole $145 million thing and all.
And, remember that Menendez is accused of accepting more than $700,000 in cash, free hotels, vacations and airfare from his buddy Dr. Salomon Melgen—the guy who is, himself, already convicted as a crooked “top recipient of Medicare funds.”
CNN reported that Melgen, an opthamologist, was Menendez’s “patron” or “close friend”. Or, rather, according to the federal prosecutors, “a corrupt pact in which Melgen showered Menendez with expensive vacations and campaign donations in exchange for the senator interceding on Melgen’s behalf in several different disputes with government officials.”
With the feds also claiming they caught the good doctor with his hand in the Medicare cookie jar to the tune of about $8.9 million. During his campaign, Senator Menendez was proud of his relationship with the Palm Springs doctor. Today, neither he nor the media can even identify the senator’s party affiliation given the dearth of coverage on the trial. NBC News even posted that he was a Republican—OOPS!
On July 18th, the Palm Beach Post reported that Melgen was convicted of 67 of those pesky fraud counts, is awaiting sentencing but, the Florida federal judge in charge of the doctor’s sentencing had just ruled that the $18 million bail his family posted was to be returned to them rather than used to pay off the $105 million fraud since current federal law did not authorize that. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
Of course, the $150,000 bond he posted in the New Jersey “influence-peddling” with Sen. Menendez, is still yet to be seen I guess. As the Post also noted, “Court records show Melgen paid roughly $7.5 million up front for his defense here and in New Jersey. That pool of money has been spent.” Adding insult to injury?
“At a hearing in June, a U.S. magistrate…suggested that if Melgen needed money to prepare for his sentencing, he could always declare he is indigent and ask taxpayers to pick up his future legal tab.” Yep, the taxpayers…again!
So, to bring my dear readers up to speed, after six weeks of trial, the feds have rested in New Jersey. Defense attorney Raymond Brown got into an argument with U.S. District Judge William H. Walls for being “extremely prejudicial to the defense.” The judge won’t dismiss the charges and, would not treat Menendez special, i.e., to come and go during the trial as he pleased just because he was a US Senator.
Other curious names came up during the trial: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Obama Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius testified that “it was the first time in her role in government that she was asked by a senator to take a meeting with another senator.”
If Menendez is convicted and goes to prison, Republican Gov. Chris Christie picks his replacement. Is that why the case has been panned? Who knows, right?
Pat Merriman is the Dunn County State Attorney. He is a photographer and also officiates high school and college athletics events in the area.