WASHINGTON (TIP): US Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey was indicted on corruption charges, allegations that the high-ranking lawmaker said he would address at a news conference on Wednesday night. Menendez was indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey for accepting gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit Melgen’s financial and personal interests, according to the court filing.
The allegations against Menendez, a senior lawmaker on foreign policy and banking, raise the possibility of Republicans gaining a 55th Senate seat to strengthen their hand in policy fights with Democratic President Barack Obama, should the senator decide to resign his seat.
Menendez was stepping down as ranking member, or top Democrat, on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee, Senate aides saidMenendez and Melgen, both 61, were charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, eight counts of bribery and three counts of honest services fraud. Menendez was also charged with one count of making false statements. Menendez, in response to previous reports of a federal investigation, has denied wrongdoing. Melgen and his representative could not immediately be reached for comment on the charges.