The Latest: Menendez lawyer says senator will be vindicated
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the Medicare fraud conviction of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who also awaits trial with Sen. Bob Menendez on charges of bribing the New Jersey Democrat. (all times local):
A lawyer defending Sen. Bob Menendez against political corruption charges says he’s spoken with the New Jersey Democrat following the Medicare fraud conviction of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
Defense attorney Abbe Lowell says Menendez told him he’s “saddened for his long-time friend and is thinking of his family.”
Melgen and Menendez await a joint trial in New Jersey on charges the doctor bribed the senator for favors, including help with a Medicare billing issue.
But Lowell’s statement says the Florida fraud case has no bearing on the bribery allegations and will have no impact on the senator.
Lowell says the fraud case was about how the doctor ran his medical practice, something the Senator has never been involved with. He says the senator has always acted legally and is confident a jury will vindicate him.
A prominent Florida eye doctor accused of political corruption was convicted of Medicare fraud Friday, increasing the odds that federal prosecutors could pressure him to testify against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.
Dr. Salomon Melgen faces 15 to 20 years in prison on 67 counts, including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients’ files, if he doesn’t offer or accept a deal before his sentencing, scheduled for July 14.
The senator denies any wrongdoing.
The doctor, 62, collected more money from Medicare than any other physician in the nation — $21 million — at the height of the fraud in 2012.
He showed no reaction when the verdict was read and was immediately taken into custody. Several of his family members burst into tears outside the courtroom.