U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, a powerful New Jersey Democrat, has been charged with conspiring with a West Palm Beach eye doctor in a federal public corruption indictment filed Wednesday.
Menendez, former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is accused of accepting private plane flights and other gifts from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a major campaign donor, in exchange for trying to resolve the physician's multimillion-dollar billing dispute with the federal Medicare program.
The Department of Justice filed fraud and bribery charges against Menendez and Melgen in Newark, N.J., capping a two-year probe of his relationship with the ophthalmologist.
Melgen also continues to be under a separate investigation by a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach on allegations that his practice over-billed Medicare by millions of dollars.
Melgen's defense attorneys, Anne Lyons and Maria Dominguez, declined to comment on Wednesday.