The entire mainstream media bought repeated denials from Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) of allegations that he solicited underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, but now the Department of Justice says the allegations are in fact “corroborated.”
In a 65-page court filing released publicly on Monday evening, the DOJ laid out how their investigation into Menendez—and Democratic Party mega-donor Dr. Salomon Melgen—“began with serious and specific allegations involving child prostitution.”
“Presented with that information, the Government, including experienced prosecutors from the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, took the only responsible course possible—it conducted an investigation,” page 10 of the document reads.
While those allegations have not resulted in any criminal charges, there can be no question that the Government has an obligation to take such allegations regarding potential harm to minors very seriously, regardless of who the alleged perpetrators may be. That is precisely what the Government did here, and there was nothing improper about it, despite the defendants’ palpable regret that the investigation ultimately led to the discovery of their corrupt relationship.
Later in the document, the DOJ lays out how even though the allegations of child prostitution against Menendez and Melgen have not resulted in criminal charges, such allegations have been “corroborated.”
“Presented with specific, corroborated allegations that defendants Menendez and Melgen had sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, the Government responsibly and dutifully investigated those serious allegations,” the DOJ writes.
The indictment here, of course, charges only corruption and does not include any allegations of soliciting underage prostitution. The defendants argue, however, that the indictment should be dismissed because the entire investigation was tainted by false allegations of underage prostitution—allegations they assert were likely initiated by political enemies. Notably, this section of the defendants’ brief includes no citations to any legal authority supporting their position that an indictment should be dismissed if the investigation was predicated on unproven allegations or allegations made by someone with questionable motives.
Later in the document, the DOJ even reveals several instances in which they did find serious and disturbing evidence—including interviews with Melgen’s private jet pilot—of alleged solicitation of prostitution. For example, they lay out how Melgen paid South Florida strippers thousands of dollars to come to Casa de Campo, his resort in the Dominican Republic.
Technically, prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic as long as said prostitutes are overage—and the U.S. can’t prosecute anyone on sex tourism charges if they can’t prove that a prostitute solicited in a foreign nation is underage and that a potential perpetrator traveled with intent to have commercial sex with minors.
The DOJ also says that Menendez lied when he repeatedly publicly claimed that he’s only flown on Melgen’s private jet three times.
“As would be done in the normal course, the Government took responsible steps to investigate these serious criminal allegations, which were not so ‘easily disprovable,’ as the defendants suggest,” the DOJ wrote.
Some eyewitnesses described a party attended by defendant Melgen in Casa de Campo—where defendant Melgen has a home and where defendant Menendez often visited— involving prostitutes. Furthermore, defendant Melgen has flown numerous young women from the United States and from other countries on his private jet to the Dominican Republic. Many of these young women receive substantial financial support from defendant Melgen. For example, defendant Melgen flew two young women—whom he met while they were performing at a South Florida “Gentlemen’s” Club on his private jet to his villa in Casa de Campo the day after paying one young woman $1,000 and the other young woman $2,000. Indeed, one of defendant Melgen’s pilots described “young girls” who “look[ed] like escorts” traveling at various times on defendant Melgen’s private jet. Some young women who received substantial sums of money from defendant Melgen were in the same place as defendant Menendez at the same time. Moreover, when the allegations were first reported, defendant Menendez defended himself with public statements that are easily disprovable. Specifically, he repeated several times that he had only flown on defendant Melgen’s private jet on three occasions. That representation is demonstrably false.
The Justice Department lays out how even though they have not charged Menendez or Melgen with the prostitution charges in their indictment of each of them, they did find “corroborating evidence” to back up the allegations.
“Confronted with corroborating evidence of such serious crimes, it would have been an inexcusable abdication of responsibility not to investigate these allegations,” the DOJ wrote.
The document was filed by the DOJ in response to a motion to dismiss the case from Menendez’s attorneys a few weeks back.
Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright told U.S. News and World Report that the senator maintains he is innocent.
“The motions [to dismiss that were filed earlier by Menendez] showed how the DOJ tried to make up for weak allegations about public corruption by soliciting allegations about sex,” Enright, who is also named in the DOJ document herself, said. “The oppositions the DOJ filed [on Monday] continue that refrain, now with new salacious and baseless allegations, again having nothing to do with the actual charges in the case. While talk of prostitution may make for good headlines, it has absolutely nothing to do with this case.”