NJ Politics Digest: Melgen Donated $600,000 to Help Menendez

Salomon Melgen. Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Prosecutors in the ongoing corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez focused Wednesday on the $600,000 the senator’s top donor, Salomon Melgen, gave to groups supporting Menendez, according to reports.

Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye doctor, made two donations of $300,000 each in 2012, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors argue the political contributions were bribes to Menendez, who allegedly took official actions to benefit Melgen’s interests.

The stakes are high in the trial, and not just for Menendez. A conviction could potentially give Republicans an extra seat in the Senate, and some of President Trump’s advisers are polling voters about expelling Menendez from the Senate. A poll found 71 percent of New Jersey likely voters for the 2018 midterms said the Senate should kick out Menendez if convicted.

And Gov. Chris Christie was mocked worldwide when he was caught lounging on a beach he closed to the public during last summer’s state government shutdown. But when it comes to the budget deal that re-opened government, the governor is the one getting the last laugh.

Quote of the Day: “It’s a long time. Even when Steve Sweeney has been mad at me at times, we’ve never gone this long. We’ve been together for eight years.” — Gov. Chris Christie on not talking to Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in more than three months.

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$600K in political donations eyed at Menendez bribery trial
Prosecutors at the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez presented evidence Wednesday that a wealthy friend contributed $600,000 to political organizations that supported the New Jersey Democrat, part of what they contend was a two-way arrangement in which Menendez offered his political influence in return.
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NJ Politics Digest: Melgen Donated $600,000 to Help Menendez