U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges, according to a report Wednesday afternoon by the Associated Press.The AP is reporting that the indictment consists of 14 counts of bribery and conspiracy relating to his relationship with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and political donor whom Menendez has identified as a close friend.
According to the AP, the federal investigation was largely based on whether or not Menendez had taken actions to improperly benefit Melgen — who was also indicted Wednesday — such as intervening in a Medicare matter and inquiring about billing practices and policies with U.S. health agencies.
Menendez has previously acknowledged accepting flights on Melgen’s private jet to the Dominican Republic and elsewhere without paying for them. Menendez has since paid Melgen back for the trips and denied any wrongdoing.
The grand jury’s indictment comes two years after federal authorities first raided Melgen’s offices, prompting speculation that Menendez was the target of a corruption investigation.
After reports trickled out last month than an indictment was on its way, Menendez defended his actions and relationship with Melgen, adding that he is “not going anywhere.”
First elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, the Union City politician has served as New Jersey’s senior senator since former U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s death in 2013.
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