New Jersey U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez has been indicted on federal corruption charges in connection with an ongoing investigation into his business dealings with a Florida doctor, according to a district court clerk familiar with the case.
Menendez, a Democrat, has held office since 2006. Specific charges in the grand jury indictment weren't immediately available and Menendez's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Previously, both Menendez and the doctor, Florida optometrist Salomon Melgen, have denied wrongdoing. It wasn't clear if Melgen was also charged in the indictment. Representatives for the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI declined comment.
The expected indictment of Menendez follows a months-long investigation into his relationship with Melgen. The senator has admitted he accepted free private plane trips from Melgen, including a 2008 trip to the luxury resort of Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Menendez claimed to have later repaid almost $70,000 for his trips on the doctor’s jet.
Doesn't look good for him at this point, although it's a bit harder to shame a US Senator into resignation rather than a mere Representative (Hey, David Vitter's still going strong, right?)
We'll see what happens, but with Gov Chris Christie itching to pull the ol' "Appoint a Republican then wait as long as possible to hold a special election" trick again and a GOP controlled Senate, I'm betting there's not going to be a deep well of support for keeping Menendez in office on the part of Republicans with a federal indictment hanging over his head, especially an indictment from a Democratic administration.
I expect things will happen quickly.