On Nov. 16, 2017, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez stood outside a Newark courthouse and thanked his lawyers, his Senate colleagues Cory Booker and Lindsey Graham and his children, for sticking by him through an 11-week federal bribery trial.
‘Bribery Bob’ survived an indictment in which the Obama administration accused him of benefiting from about $1 million in gifts and political donations from a wealthy eye doctor in exchange for such favors as circumventing a criminal probe into medical overbilling and getting the State Department to allow young women into the country for his sexual pleasure.
Now, the New Jersey political establishment is lining up to put Robert Menendez, Jr., the Senator’s son, into the US House of Representatives, but the introduction of another ultra-corrupt Democrat will only bolster GOP efforts to reclaim power and possibly “reinstate” disgraced former President Donald Trump, who expressed sympathy for the indicted lawmaker during what he thought was a phone call with the crook, whose criminal trial ended with a hung jury.
“How are you? Congratulations on everything, we’re proud of you. Congratulations, great job,” Trump was quoted as saying. “You went through a tough, tough situation and I don’t think a very fair situation, but congratulations.”
The U.S. Justice Department said it planned to retry the Democratic U.S. Senator on bribery and corruption charges after a jury was deadlocked in his trial, but that didn’t happen and as one of his final acts as president, Trump pardoned the alleged co-conspirator in the Menendez bribery scandal, Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida-based ophthalmologist who was sentenced to 17 years in prison in a separate case that included 67 counts of health care fraud; making false, fictitious and fraudulent claims; and making false statements related to health care.
Melgen perpetrated the biggest Medicare fraud in history and his practice of double-billing the government-run insurance system was the root of an investigation Menendez tried to sideline in exchange for the gifts he received from the doctor.
Menendez never denied accepting private flights, campaign contributions, and other lucrative benefits from his wealthy patron, but he claimed that trying to derail the federal investigation into the Florida ophthalmologist and helping the married Melgen bring 20-something girlfriends into the country was not exchanging official favors for the bribes.
Working to help Melgen resolve disputes with government officials, Menendez spoke with then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Robert Menendez Jr., 36, has won backing from key Democrats almost before the incumbent announced that he is abandoning the safe congressional district seat.
Only a few months ago, Governor Phil Murphy nominated Menendez Jr. to serve on the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey but he has shown no real aptitude for nor interest in public service. He often speaks like an automaton who has mastered the art of lying, much the way his father does.
He was one of a half-dozen Lowenstein Sandlder lawyers who worked on the New York-based Avid Ventures’ launch of the $68 million venture capital fund spearheaded by Addie Lerner, an investor with General Catalyst, General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs.
Nobody knows where the 36-year-old Senator’s son stands on any issues, since he has never run for elected office and rarely distinguished himself in any way.
An opponent has a built-in slogan with “I ain’t no senator’s son” but so far, the potential opposition has yet to rise up in anger at the audacity of this power grab.
Two challengers are facing the younger Menendez, 25-year-old David Ocampo Grajales and Amistad Commission member Ane Roseborough-Eberhard, after the political establishment backing the corrupt Senator’s son forced two candidates—law professor Eugene Mazo and Brian Varela—off the ballot with petition disqualification actions.