On Nov. 1, 2012, The Daily Caller published videotaped interviews with two women who said they were paid to have sex with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez in the Dominican Republic.
This week The Washington Post and other media outlets cast doubt on that story, reporting uncritically on an affidavit filed Feb. 25 in the Dominican Republic and bearing the signature of a woman who has been unavailable for interviews, and whose existence no media outlet has yet corroborated.
Before publishing the story, TheDC independently corroborated some elements of the women’s claims, including Menendez’s nonexistent public schedule and the flight records of the private jet he was likely on during the weekend the women claimed their sexual encounters occurred. TheDC also vetted the source who brought the women forward, and reconfirmed details with that source after The Washington Post’s story broke Monday.
The saga continued to develop after the 2012 election, and reached its peak of public interest when a cache of documents appeared online Jan. 24, allegedly implicating Menendez in a long list of other prostitution-related activities, all while in that island nation.
Four weeks later on Feb. 24, TheDC published a story, after multiple interviews, with an American escort who said Menendez was one of her past clients who paid for sex. She told TheDC that Menendez was a serial “hobbyist” who “sees a lot of girls” for paid sexual trysts.
The Dominican affidavit was filed the next day, Feb. 25, although it was not publicized until Monday.
The American call girl’s description tends to support an article that appeared on the Gawker website on Nov. 1. Gawker interviewed Menendez’s neighbors who live in the apartment directly beneath his. They said the senator routinely entertained a variety of attractive female guests who they saw, through a window, invariably leaving at 3 a.m. and climbing into waiting taxis. They also described loud noises suggestive of sexual activity coming from Menendez’s apartment on a regular basis when those women visited.
But The Daily Caller’s first story is now being questioned. Nexis de los Santos Santana’s affidavit Monday said she was paid to give interviews last year implicating Menendez, his longtime donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, and Melgen’s cousin Vinicio Castillo Seman, who is a prominent lawyer and politician in that country.
The affidavit did not mention The Daily Caller. Dominican media outlets reported that Castillo was in charge of the press conference, and distributed the affidavit to media outlets — including The Washington Post. Miguel Galván, an attorney, provided his own affidavit, which supported de los Santos’ statements. The two appeared the same day before the same notary to dictate their statements.