Menendez corruption case puts other Democrats at legal risk

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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez told reporters outside a New Jersey federal court Wednesday that, "not once have I dishonored my public office". Menendez's meetings with Health and Human Services officials - including former department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius - regarding Medicare reimbursement policies were aimed at correcting billing inconsistencies, a concern shared by other senators, Lowell told jurors. "I do believe we'll be exonerated".

In exchange, Menendez pressed government officials to help his doctor friend, who will also be on trial, with his business and personal affairs - including procuring United States visas for Melgen's three young girlfriends, the feds have said. After the federal investigation of him became public, Menendez reimbursed Melgen $58,000 for travel, calling his failure to disclose the flights an "oversight".

The trial will loom large over the gubernatorial and senatorial elections this year in the Garden State, which is reliably Democratic thanks in large part to a handful of counties in the North. He won a full term later that year and was re-elected in 2012.

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In his opinion, Walls had called the request to delay the trial for Senate votes "nigh frivolous". Their joint trial is expected to last about eight weeks. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, on corruption charges - a ruling which was later overturned after a Justice Department investigation - the ad contends that "Democrats and Republicans used to agree that a convicted felon should resign immediately". Senate Democrats might try to stall Menendez's potential departure until after Christie leaves, in hopes New Jersey will vote in a Democrat to succeed him. Menendez is accused of using his office to advocate for Melgen's interests in exchange for expensive campaign contributions and gifts.

Booker chatted with Menendez during a break in the court proceedings Wednesday.

The start of Democratic U.S. Sen. Lowell responded that Menendez later reimbursed about $58,000 even though it was money "he probably didn't have to pay back at all" under Senate finance rules.

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"For years, Dr. Melgen knowingly made false diagnoses and submitted fraudulent bills in order to illegally line his pockets with millions of dollars intended for the legitimate diagnosis and treatment of Medicare patients", stated Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) leaving the podium after speaking to the media during a news conference in Newark, New Jersey, April 1, 2015. Defense attorneys argued in another filing late last week that the court needed to adjourn on certain days so that Menendez could return to Washington for "critical votes".

Menendez has vehemently denied the allegations. When attorney Abbe Lowell pointed out that the motion was filed according to the judge's order from December, Walls replied, "Fine".

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