Donald Scarinci, a managing partner at the high-powered law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck, says the federal indictment against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) “refused to let the law get in the way” and was “retaliation” against his childhood friend.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Scarinci weighed in on Menendez’s indictment via his Facebook pageÂ on Thursday night, hours after Menendez pleaded not guilty to criminal corruption charges that included bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the 68-page indictment, Dr. Salomon Melgen offered Menendez things like “domestic and international flights on private jets, first-class domestic airfare, use of a Caribbean villa, access to an exclusive Dominican resort, a stay at a luxury hotel in Paris,” among other expensive gifts the senator accepted.
Additional details allege that Menendez advocated for the Florida ophthalmologist to gain a port security contract with the Dominican Republic and tried to get out of a multi-million dollar dispute with Medicaid.
In a phone conversation with Hudson County View, Scarinci noted that the port security contract never went to Melgen, who also has pending litigation with Medicaid.
“I don’t see how they convict him [Menendez] and it really makes you question: why did they even allow that indictment to happen in the first place? It was either willful, or a runaway attorney who had so much time invested in this that they couldn’t let it go,” Scarinci explained.
“Next to me, Sal Melgen is Bob’s closest personal friend – whom he knew before he was in Congress. There’s a 20-plus year relationship here. Sal Melgen would give you the shirt off his back, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s a Democratic ideologue, he gives generously to the whole party.”
The indictment makes note that Melgen contributed $750,000 to entities supporting Menendez in his 2012 re-election bid.
Scarinci added that it was “beyond insulting” that Menendez would do something for a close personal friend in exchange for contributions.
Menendez’s federal trial has a tentative start date of July 13, though it seems like a foregone conclusion it will be pushed back to a later date.