Will ABC's Stephanopoulos, Raddatz Ask Menendez About FBI Sex Investigation? (Update: No)
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday amid the rekindled firestorm surrounding his trips to the Dominican Republic. Several people at the network, including anchor George Stephanopoulos, haven’t responded when Breitbart News has asked if Stephanopoulos or reporter Martha Raddatz will ask Menendez about his alleged sexual escapades abroad.
This reporter interviewed two Dominican Republic women in November, while reporting for The Daily Caller before joining Breitbart News, who claimed Menendez paid them for sex around Easter time this year. The encounter apparently took place at Casa de Campo, a posh 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. Each woman told this reporter Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex but only paid them $100.
On Thursday, emails published online support this reporter’s original accounts by way of an FBI investigation. On August 1, 2012, the FBI opened an inquiry into Menendez’s prostitution solicitation—mainly because one of the prostitutes Menendez paid for sex was allegedly underage.
Correspondence between an anonymous source and Miami-based FBI special agent Regino Chavez shows that the FBI has confirmed at least some of the allegations against Menendez are true through its investigation. “As far as the information you have provided, we have been able to confirm most of it,” Chavez eventually wrote on September 12 to the anonymous source, requesting an in-person meeting. “We know that you are providing accurate information.”
“We are on the right track but we do need to meet in person,” Special Agent Chavez wrote to the anonymous source. “I would not like for the information you have to get stale and lose the opportunity to bring the people who abused these young ladies to justice.”
At least one email—sent to the FBI on September 12, 2012—shows the agency was aware that at least one woman was allegedly underage when Menendez solicited her as a prostitute. “Mr. Chavez, I’m attaching to this note the testimony of one of the girls,” the source wrote. “I have in my possession the original written in her own hand. She’s 19 now, but took part in private parties with Senator Menendez being only 16.”
Fox News’ Judson Berger notes that prostitution “in the Dominican Republic is legal, but the age of consent is 18. Under the 2003 PROTECT Act, it is also a U.S. federal crime to ‘engage in illicit sexual conduct’ abroad with anyone under 18 – that includes prostitution.”
In addition to the FBI investigation, the emails published online this week show that the George Soros-funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and ABC News investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz were both aware and investigating the matter as well.
Schwartz told The Daily Caller that “I’m not going to say anything” about her decision not to report this story in an election year and that “I’m not confirming anything.” The Daily Caller’s David Martosko adds that “an additional source, unrelated to the documents, confirmed to TheDC on Thursday that ABC News was working on the Menendez story as late as mid-October.”
Neither Schwartz nor ABC News ever reported the story.
Now that the existence of inquiries into the matter from the FBI and CREW have been confirmed—and that ABC News emails showing Schwartz, for whatever reason, decided not to run the story in a year when Menendez was up for re-election—the senator is scheduled to appear on ABC’s Sunday news program “This Week.”
ABC’s description of his appearance alongside Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain notes they will “speak to ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz” on Sunday.
“Following President Obama's final inaugural address, what priorities will drive his second term agenda? Can he work with Congress on difficult issues from immigration reform to the battles over the budget, or will Washington gridlock continue?” Thus ABC News describes Menendez and McCain’s scheduled appearances. “Will the Senate be a roadblock to any of President Obama's cabinet nominees, including an expected fight next week over Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel? And after outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced off with Congress on Benghazi, what questions remain about the deadly attack – and what's in store for Clinton's political future?”
It’s unclear, now that these revelations have come out since Menendez was booked for the show, if Raddatz and Stephanopoulos will do their journalistic duty and ask the senator about his prostitution problem and the FBI inquiry into it. Nobody from ABC News has responded to this reporter's inquiries.