Harry suffers from brain trauma after his bout with the rubber band exercise machine.
The Justice Department alleged this week that Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., pushed his colleagues and the Obama administration to change federal policy in order to help a man that authorities charge lavished him with gifts.
In a brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the department said Menendez asked then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to pressure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reverse a decision that hurt Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. Melgen is thought to have plied Menendez with lavish vacations, and authorities are trying to show those gifts influenced Menendez’s actions in the corruption case they are bringing against him.
Menendez also allegedly helped Melgen secure visas for his girlfriends in exchange for trips and campaign contributions. A federal corruption trial against Menendez begins next week, and he faces 14 counts of bribery and conspiracy, including accepting trips to Paris and the Dominican Republic.
The Justice Department brief said Menendez first enlisted Reid’s help in November 2011 to “amplify the pressure” on the Obama administration.
Reid, the Justice Department alleged, contacted the White House deputy chief of staff at that time and told her Menendez was upset about CMS’s treatment of Melgen, who owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare.
The brief said Reid asked the White House deputy chief of staff to call CMS. But the White House official, who wasn’t identified, opted not to contact the agency, “recognizing that the matter involved a dispute between a single doctor and an administrative agency, not a policy matter.”
The Justice Department argued Reid’s contact with the White House is proof Menendez tried to pressure another government official to perform an “official act.”