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Alleged prostitute: I was fooled, never had sex with Sen. Bob Menendez

@MarcACaputo -- via Ezra Fieser:

An alleged prostitute who said she appeared in a video claiming to have been paid for sex with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez now claims in sworn testimony that it never happened and that she was tricked into making the video.

The claims from the woman, Nexis de los Santos Santana, were released by Vinicio Castillo Semán, a cousin of a Menendez contributor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. A West Palm Beach eye doctor, Melgen's offices were raided by the FBI last month. Melgen, Menendez and Castillo were accused in anonymous emails, sent to the FBI, that accused them of having sex with prostitutes, including some under age.

"I never went to bed with [Menendez, Melgen] or with Vinicio [Castillo]. I don't know them and I've never had sex with any of those people," said Nexis de los Santos Santana in a sworn testimony entered in a court case in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

In a statement, Melgen lawyer Kirk Ogrosky noted the matter was under investigation by officials in the Dominican Republic, which was conducted at the behest of Castillo: "Dr. Melgen is pleased that authorities in the Dominican Republic are investigating the individuals behind this campaign of lies. Dr. Melgen is hopeful that the appropriate authorities will identify and prosecute the people who are responsible.  As he has maintained from day one, Dr. Melgen has been cooperating with authorities in every way possible and he denies any wrongdoing. "

All have denied the claims. Menendez has said the prostitution claims were part of a right-wing election-year smear.

Just before his election, the conservative Daily Caller website released the videos of the alleged prostitutes saying they had sex with Menendez and Melgen. The new lawsuit and claims from the alleged prostitute add another twist in an already complicated case.

"I fear for my life," she said in the testimony, which Castillo distributed at a press conference Monday evening in Santo Domingo.

At the press conference, Castillo presented court documents in which a Dominican lawyer and one of the alleged prostitutes voluntarily had given testimony saying they were tricked into creating  the video in which says she had sex with Melgen and Menendez.

The person who orchestrated it, according to their testimony, was attorney Melanio Figueroa.

Castillo said he does not know who paid Figueroa. The only information in the court papers suggests it was one of Figueroa's clients in Santiago who "had a problem with some shipping containers."

Figueroa did not return calls.

Last month, Figueroa briefly spoke with The Miami Herald in the Dominican Republic and said he no longer represents the two alleged prostitutes.

Figueroa said his former clients had not returned his calls for months. “I’m no longer in contact with those girls,” he said. “That’s what I told the [FBI] investigator, too.”

Figueroa said he found their interviews with the Daily Caller credible. “I have no reason to believe it was politically motivated,” he said. “It wasn’t like that.”

Figueroa said he believes the same fear pushed his clients into hiding. “I think they’re afraid,” he said. “That’s why they are not coming forward.”