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Alleged Escort Says She Was Paid to Lie About Having Sex for Cash With Democratic Senator

Video published by a right-wing website accused Senator Robert Menendez of patronizing prostitutes, but the woman who made the allegations now says she made it up for money.
 
 
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New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez being interviewed in 2010.
Photo Credit: Luigi Novi/Wikimedia Commons

 
 
 
 

The woman who intensified speculation that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) patronized prostitutes in the Dominican Republic has now recanted video testimony saying that the senator had engaged in paying for sex.

Nexis de los Santos Santana, a resident of the Dominican Republic, appeared in a video that was published by the right-wing website The Daily Caller. In the video, Santana says that Menendez paid her to have sex with him. Menendez strongly denied the allegations, and now Santana has said she was paid to make the video.

She told Dominican Republic police that she never met the New Jersey senator, and that she appeared in the video after being approached by a lawyer. The lawyer told them about a second lawyer, who provided a script to Santana.

The video appeared to back up claims made by someone named Peter Williams. Williams claimed that Menendez engaged “in inappropriate sexual activities with young prostitutes while on vacation in the Dominican Republic.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into the allegations against Menendez, but found no evidence.

The Daily Caller, a news outlet not known for accuracy, is sticking by its story. Last month, Menendez said that he was under attack from a smear campaign. “It’s amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a Web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream, but that’s what they’ve done successfully...The bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false and, you know, that’s the bottom line.”

The apparently fabricated video has taken attention away from the very real corruption allegations Menendez is being questioned on. Menendez has been accused of using his influence to help out a major donor and friend is a wealthy eye surgeon in Florida.

In 2010, Menendez took two trips to the Dominican Republic aboard the plane of Salomon E. Melgen, the Florida doctor who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Menendez’s campaigns.

As the New York Times reported, “Mr. Menendez has, in turn, been helpful to Dr. Melgen. He urged American authorities to intervene and help revive a port security contract in the Dominican Republic that would greatly benefit one of Dr. Melgen’s companies.”

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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