Democrat Senator Robert Menendez is going to trial in early September to face massive corruption charges that revolve around a lucrative Medicare scam he profited from.
However, the plot is thickening, as we discover yet another BIG name Democrat who finds himself at the center of the scandal.
It’s none other than former House Minority Leader Harry Reid.
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, in trying to help a campaign donor who was accused of overbilling the government, enlisted then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “amplify the pressure” on the Obama administration, the Justice Department said.
Reid contacted a White House staffer, who declined to help, prosecutors disclosed Wednesday in a court filing.
Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, faces a corruption trial next week with Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and close friend accused of bribing him with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lavish trips in exchange for his help on government disputes.
Menendez “enlisted” Reid in November 2011 to help pressure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, to reverse its ruling that Melgen owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare. Reid contacted a White House deputy chief of staff, prosecutors said.
“At that time, the Majority Leader reached out to the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, informing her that Menendez was upset about how a Florida ophthalmologist was being treated by CMS and asking that she call the agency,” according to the 30-page filing.
But the staffer, who wasn’t identified, “demurred” after “recognizing the matter involved a dispute between a single doctor and an administrative agency,” according to prosecutors. The filing doesn’t offer further details about what Menendez allegedly asked Reid to do. Reid isn’t accused of wrongdoing in the case.
Defense lawyers for Menendez and Melgen responded Wednesday with a letter complaining that prosecutors filed a “lengthy, lurid and one-sided narrative of the case’’ that includes “new, irrelevant and inflammatory ‘facts.’’’
The Justice Department filing, called a “Trial Brief,’’ wasn’t solicited by the judge and came after a juror chosen last week to hear the case has been excused for financial hardship, the lawyers said. A new juror must be chosen and may be exposed to the fresh pretrial publicity, they said.
“With its unnecessary presentation, irrelevant to the actual legal issues in the ‘brief,’ the gratuitous filing will make it harder to fill the remaining jury spot,’’ wrote the lawyers, adding that they won’t offer a further response to the allegation until the trial.
Efforts to contact Reid at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he’s affiliated with the law school, were unsuccessful, and his representatives didn’t immediately return calls and emails seeking comment on the filing.