Greek, Cyprus Champion Sen. Bob Melendez Indicted for Fraud, Bribery

By on April 3, 2015

Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey democrat and champion of causes important to Greek and Cypriot Americans, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to 14 criminal counts against him, including eight counts of bribery in his dealings with Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist.

The senator vehemently asserted his innocence and charged that the prosecutors were the ones who had it wrong. They “don’t know the difference between friendship and corruption and have chosen to twist my duties as a senator and my friendship into something that is improper,” he said.

The 68-page indictment outlines in colorful detail those duties as a senator — which include allegedly intervening on behalf of Melgen’s three girlfriends’ visa applications, among other things — and his friendship — which includes nearly $1 million in trips, political contributions and other perks.

Noting his commitment to Greek national issues, Chicago-based Hellenic American Leadership Council issued a statement “standing with Senator Melendez on issues of critical importance” and noted that the Senator “is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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