Politics

Washington Post report confuses one prostitute with another in bid to debunk Menendez allegations

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David Martosko
Executive Editor

The Washington Post mistook one prostitute for another Monday in a report that initially seemed to debunk a November 2012 Daily Caller exposé of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

While the Post said it had an affidavit from a woman in the Dominican Republic admitting she fabricated claims Menendez paid her for sex, that woman was not one of the two prostitutes TheDC interviewed for a Nov. 1 report.

The Post identified the woman as 23-year-old Nexis de los Santos Santana.

The Miami Herald similarly reported that de los Santos “was one of two women who appeared in videos” published by TheDC.

De los Santos claimed she was “surreptitiously taped,” the Post wrote.

The Miami Herald noted, however that “in The Daily Caller video, in which she is allegedly the woman wearing green whose face is blurred out, she appears wearing an earpiece and answering questions.”

(RELATED: SEE THE ORIGINAL VIDEO INTERVIEWS)

The interview was conducted via a video webcam. Both women consented to its presence.

Post reporter Carol D. Leonnig did not respond to requests for comment Monday night, and did not provide TheDC with a copy of the affidavit.

Other elements of the Post’s story suggested that it had identified a different escort from the women who told TheDC they were paid to have sex with the senator.

Both women TheDC interviewed said they were 24 years old at the time — not 23 — and neither went by Nexis de los Santos Santana. They spelled out their names and ages on camera, in the presence of Dominican lawyer Melanio Figueroa.

In addition, the Post reported that de los Santos claimed she implicated Menendez, his long-time donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, “and prominent Dominican lawyer Vinicio Castillo Selmán [sic], Melgen’s cousin, in hiring prostitutes.”

But Castillo Semán was not identified at any point during TheDC’s video interviews. His name first surfaced nearly three months later, in a written testimonial from a prostitute that appeared among emails and other records placed online by a whistle-blower calling himself Peter Williams.

It is unclear if only two women were prepared to speak to TheDC at the time of the interviews. A third woman was allegedly standing by to speak with TheDC when the laptop being used in the Dominican Republic ran out of battery life, according to the translator.

Figueroa, the attorney who accompanied the women during TheDC’s video interviews, now stands accused of orchestrating the entire episode as part of a plot to use a phony divorce case to embarrass both Menendez and Melgen.

Figueroa told the Miami Herald on Monday evening that such allegations are “totally false.”

“It was a case that I handled for these women and faithfully represented them for what they said,” he told the Herald.

He also accused de los Santos’ attorney, Miguel Galván, of fabricating his affidavit — and the escort’s apparent admissions.

“These are lies by Galván,” Figueroa said, according to the Herald. “What he is saying is a lie.”

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