“Where is the outrage?” asked the meme, posted on Facebook this month and running with more than 15,000 shares. “A senator is on trial for corruption,” it continues (for what seems like a lifetime), “in a case where his codefendant was convicted and is getting life in prison in a case that involves selling underage minority immigrant girls in prostitution.”
TWS Fact Check will make this short and simple for our dear readers.
- New Jersey senator Bob Menendez is no longer on trial in a corruption-related case
- The “co-defendant” Dr. Salomon Melgen did received a 17-year (not life) sentence. However, it was for Medicare fraud, not prostitution. And it was a separate trial.
- Menendez’s trial did not involve the selling of underage, minority immigrant prostitutes
For an in-depth read on the Menendez trial I recommend this, this, this, or this. But, our purposes don’t require such a lengthy review due to the meme's failure to approach anything resembling accuracy.
Menendez was most certainly “on trial” for alleged corruption in 2017. But the case ended in a mistrial after the jurors shilly-shallied; and the DOJ filed to dismiss the case in January 2018. In April, the Senate Ethics Committee sent Menendez a “public letter of admonition,” which reads in part:
The Committee has found that over a six-year period you knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts of significant value from Dr. Melgen without obtaining required Committee approval, and that you failed to publicly disclose certain gifts as required by Senate Rule and federal law. Additionally, while accepting these gifts, you used your position as a Member of the Senate to advance Dr. Melgen's personal and business interests. The Committee has determined that this conduct violated Senate Rules, federal law, and applicable standards of conduct. Accordingly, the Committee issues you this Public Letter of Admonition, and also directs you to repay the fair market value of all impermissible gifts not already repaid.
The trial, however, was not over the supposed selling of underage women for prostitution as the meme claims. There were unproven allegations against Menendez and Melgen having ... relations with underage prostitutes, but this was not a part of the indictment against the senator.
In a case unrelated to Menendez, his pal Melgen was sentenced to 17 years “for stealing $73 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo excruciating tests and treatments they didn't need for diseases they didn't have,” the Sun Sentinel reported in February.
The meme is a hornet's nest of misinformation. TWS Fact Check is happy to have smacked it with a tennis racket of facts.
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