One of the women who appeared in a video last fall claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid her for sex has now told a different story to the police in the Dominican Republic, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
According to affidavits obtained by the newspaper, the woman said she and a friend appeared in the video after being approached by a lawyer. That lawyer, meanwhile, said a second lawyer provided him with a script and paid him to find the women.
The Post report, which also cites two people “briefed on [the woman’s] claim,” does not identify the women or the lawyers by name, nor does it detail what court the affidavits were filed in, or what kind of proceeding they are related to. It is also not clear how the Post obtained the documents.
The videos referred to in the report are apparently the same ones that appeared, at least in part, on the conservative website The Daily Caller in November. The Daily Caller did not identify the women, and their faces were blurred.
The story was initially ignored by much of the press. But in late January and early February, the rumors resurfaced, in the form of an anonymously posted WordPress blog containing a shadowy tipster’s correspondence with a watchdog group, ABC News and an apparent FBI agent. The tipster said he had information that Menendez had slept with prostitutes while vacationing in the Dominican Republic, where he stayed at the home of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Miami ophthalmologist and businessman who is both a friend and political donor of the senator’s. In late January, the FBI raided Melgen’s Miami offices, reportedly as part of parallel investigations into potential Medicare fraud and Melgen’s relationship with Menendez.
Last month, the Post, citing two people “familiar” with the investigation, reported that FBI agents had been conducting interviews with people in the Dominican Republic, but had found no evidence to support the prostitution claims.
TPM has covered the case of the Menendez tipster here.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com