WASHINGTON -- One of the two women who videotaped allegations that New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez paid her for sex has said in an affidavit that she was paid to make the story up, according to a report Monday in the Washington Post.
The woman also said she has never met nor seen the Democratic senator, the Post reported, citing court documents and two people briefed on her claim. Instead, in an affidavit she said she and a colleague were paid by a lawyer to make up the claims and read from a script, according to the Post.
The story is the latest to raise serious doubts about the salacious story that Menendez frequented prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, with the help of friend and donor Salomon Melgen. Menendez has firmly denied the accusations, calling them “smears” by “nameless, faceless individuals.”
The accusation was based largely on an unidentified online accuser who e-mailed out allegations last year but refused to meet with or speak in person with reporters, ethics investigators or the FBI. The conservative Web site The Daily Caller pumped up the story shortly before Election Day with interviews with two unidentified women, whose faces were blurred, who claimed to be prostitutes who had slept with Menendez.
But the Post has reported that the FBI looked into the allegations and found no evidence to back up the claims. Now one of the women says her story was a fake.
Menendez still faces other ethics questions, ones backed up with documents and first reported by the mainstream press. Most notably, Menendez took two trips on Melgen’s private plane and didn’t repay the $58,500 cost for two years and later lobbied on Melgen’s behalf.
But what little evidence there was to support the prostitution questions have, to this point, only eroded.