Is Salomon Melgen Ratting Out Sen. Robert Menendez?

Menendez and Melgen in happier times

Paul Mulshine of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, the hometown newspaper of Senator Robert Menendez, has penned a column titled, “Will the eye doctor see his way clear to singing on the senator?”

It’s about what a judge did in Thursday in Florida. Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez’ co-defendant on bribery charges, was supposed to be sentenced for his conviction on separate charges of Medicare fraud. The judge agreed to delay sentencing until after the bribery trial, scheduled for September in New Jersey, suggesting that Melgen may be cooperating with prosecutors and will testify against Menendez. From the column:

There was no immediate indication that such a deal is in the offing. But one close observer of the case said that such a deal looks like the obvious option for Melgen.

“Melgen played all of his cards and he’s got one card left, one and that’s to cooperate with the prosecution in the Menendez trial,” said Tom Anderson. “They’re pushing for 30 years to life.  Faced with that and one last card to play, does he really have a choice?”

Anderson is a Fort Lauderdale resident who is an investigator for the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group. In 2013, he unearthed the transcript of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in which Menendez advocated on behalf of a company owned by Melgen in its efforts to enforce a lucrative port-security  contract with the Dominican Republic.

After the New York Times reported on that transcript, it found its way into the indictment of Menendez and Melgen.

Early in his career, way back in 1982, Menendez was pursued by federal prosecutors during an investigation of the corrupt Hudson County political machine. He saved himself by testifying against his mentor, Union City boss Bill Musto, helping to send him to prison. This time, however, it may be Menendez who is ratted upon.