NEWARK – Prosecutors in the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez this morning attempted to connect the senator’s efforts to help his friend Dr. Salomon Melgen out of a billing dispute with Medicare to campaign donations Melgen made to a super PAC, showing a rough time line with emails and testimony.
Among the emails was one from Menendez himself to his chief of staff Danny O’Brien in August 2009, where the senator referenced the doctor’s case against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
“Dr. Melgen is still in the non-litigant stage, so we should determine who has the best juice at CMS and the Department of Health,” Menendez wrote.
That email and others were entered into evidence over the objection of the Menendez’s defense team, which accused the government of taking statements out of context. They repeated objections from earlier in the trial to the use of FBI Agent Alan Mohl, who returned to the witness stand for the fourth time and spent much of it reading emails written by other people.
Another email from O’Brien to Melgen’s son-in-law Eduardo Rodriguez mentioned the then-upcoming 2012 Senate race where Menendez won re-election.
“Also, I recognize that there may be bigger opportunities for the doctor to join in later this summer that will be beneficial to the senator’s re-election effort,” Rodriguez wrote on April 30, 2012.
Melgen donated a total of $600,000 to Majority PAC which was earmarked for use in New Jersey during the 2012 race.
Mohl is expected to remain on the witness stand for most if not all of today.
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