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Tipsheet

Democratic Senator Is Under Federal Investigation...Again

Jacquelyn Martin

After the Justice Department dropped its corruption case against Sen. Bob Menendez in 2018, federal investigators are once again looking at the New Jersey Democrat.  

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"Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today, however he does not know the scope of the investigation," adviser Michael Soliman told Semafor. "As always, should any official inquiries be made, the Senator is available to provide any assistance that is requested of him or his office."

Previously, Menendez was indicted on bribery charges after being accused of doing political favors for a friend, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, in exchange for lavish vacations, flights on a private jet, and donations. The case ended in a mistrial in 2017, however. 

While the new investigation involves a different group of players from the previous corruption case, the “broad outlines of the new inquiry are similar to the 2017 case,” reports Semafor. 

One person who said he was subpoenaed, Antranig “Andy” Aslanian Jr., a lawyer based in Fort Lee, N.J., said in an interview Wednesday evening that he and his own lawyer met with three prosecutors from the Southern District about two and half months ago.

Based on the questions he was asked, Mr. Aslanian, 83, said he concluded that the investigators were interested in the senator’s interactions with people that he also knew. The investigators also asked about a company authorized to certify halal meat for export, which Mr. Aslanian had helped a friend incorporate.

Mr. Aslanian, who said he had known Mr. Menendez casually for years, said he was aware of at least two other people who were also subpoenaed. He said he had not heard from prosecutors since the meeting. (Politico)

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As Politico noted, it's unlikely Democrats will distance themselves from Menendez over the probe given that many, including fellow New Jersey Democrat, Sen. Cory Booker, stood with him during the last trial. Still, it could affect an anticipated reelection campaign in 2024. 

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