2/01/2013

Weekly Standard: "If Guilty, Menendez Could Face 30 Years in Prison"

For a discussion of the relevant laws, see the extended discussion at the Weekly Standard:
If Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is found guilty of traveling to the Dominican Republic to engage in sexual intercourse with underage prostitutes, he could face up to 30 years prison. The appropriate law, which would seem to apply in this instance, is the Prosecutorial Remedies And Other Tools To End The Exploitation Of Children Today (or the Protect Act). . . . 
Meanwhile four more prostitutes have come forward to confirm that Menendez was engaged in this behavior.
The main source in the Bob Menendez underage hooker scandal sent the FBI the names of four hookers who confirmed they had attended sex parties with Salmon Melgen and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in the Dominican Republic. . . .
So what does what learn from all this?  Just like the Secret Service agents who got in trouble over the prostitutes, Menendez got in trouble because he tried to underpay the prostitutes. Menendez apparently promised to pay $500 and instead only paid $100. 

Now it turns out that Menendez try to get a $500 million contract for the doctor who supplied the trips down to the Dominican Republic.
Sen. Bob Menendez used his influence to advocate for a Dominican Republic business deal that helped a longtime friend and donor whose South Florida office was raided by federal agents this week. 
Menendez questioned Obama administration officials at a July hearing about what it was doing to help U.S. businesses that he felt were being unfairly treated by the government of the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries. 
One company Menendez was apparently referring to: ICSSI, acquired the year before by Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Palm Beach County eye doctor and friend. The firm was seeking to enforce a contract it had won to X-ray Dominican Republic port cargo, that could be worth $500 million to $1 billion over two decades. . . .
UPDATE: From Politico:
New Jersey political insiders tell POLITICO that even if it is proved Menendez had sex with prostitutes, he can survive that hit politically. Menendez wouldn’t even be the first sitting senator to weather a prostitution scandal; Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) admitted in 2007 that he had called a D.C.-based prostitution ring. Vitter, however, did not admit to having sex with prostitutes and the Senate Ethics Committee did not investigate the matter. 
“It is a sophisticated electorate that is very focused on policy issues, and if it were established that there was some personal failings, which is not yet at all clear, I wouldn’t say that it was politically determinative,” Torricelli said of New Jersey voters. 
But if the allegations that the women were underage prove to be true, that could be too much for Menendez — and the larger Senate Democratic Caucus — to accept and he could be forced to step down. 
Under U.S. law, it is illegal for an American citizen to have “commercial sex” with anyone younger than 18 while traveling in a foreign country. . . . 

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