charges in connection with his friendship with Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen. Earlier this week, the Senator was indicted on charges of conspiracy, fraud, making false statements on government documents and eight counts of bribery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Menendez is the first senator to be charged with bribery since 1980.
The allegations are that Menendez, in exchange for gifts, used his position as a member of the Senate Finance Committee to bring about changes in the way Medicare reimbursement works that would increase the Salomon’s earnings. For his part, Menendez has defended his innocence and plans to fight the charges. With respect to the allegations of bribery, he argues that the Medicare issue was a policy decision in keeping with his own values and that the gifts from Melgen were merely a part of their friendship, which goes back to the 1990s.
Mendendez has reportedly already gathered about him a legal team to prepare for the case, and it will be interesting to see what kind of strategy they put together. At this point, it isn’t clear how the case will impact his elected position, though it is clear that he intends to vigorously fight charges without stepping down. Time will tell whether the charges will be his downfall.
For elected officials, corruption charges are about a lot more than possible time in prison and other penalties. They are also about one’s honor as an elected official and one’s ability to continue in that role and other positions of public trust in the future. Needless to say, putting together the best possible defense case is important in these cases. Our firm is committed to providing the best possible defense in cases of public corruption, and our clients can be sure that we’ll do everything we can to minimize the legal consequences of charges against them.
Source: New York Times, “Senator Robert Menendez Indicted on Corruption Charges,” Matt Apuzzo, April 1, 2015.