Report: Relative of top Bob Menendez donor pushed apparent retraction of prostitution claim
A Dominican politician related to a top political donor to Sen. Bob Menendez was the driving force promoting new claims from a woman who now says she concocted an allegation that the senator paid her for sex in 2012.
The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Vinicio Castillo Semán, the cousin of Dr. Salomon Melgen, first released an affidavit Monday from a Dominican escort named Nexis de los Santos Santana, who recanted what she said were accusations she made in a media report.
The Washington Post quickly connected that affidavit to The Daily Caller’s Nov. 1, 2012 report, in which two women said on videotape that they were paid to provide sexual favors to Menendez. But de los Santos’ statement Monday appears to describe a different interview that was never published. (RELATED: Post report confuses one prostitute with another)
TheDC has stood by its reporting.
Castillo, who personally distributed de los Stantos’ statement during a press conference Monday, was himself implicated in separate accusations from women who said he, Melgen and Menendez engaged in pay-for-play sexual trysts — including some on a yacht Castillo owns. (RELATED: In Menendez saga, prostitute points to wealthy Dominican politician as sex-party participant)
All three men have denied those accusations, which first surfaced online in a cache of documents in late January.
The allegations are important because they included purported statements from two women who said their paid sexual contact with the men began when they were underage. (RELATED: Handwritten account recalls sex with Menendez “when I was 16 years old”)
While unconfirmed, those written accounts tend to reinforce TheDC’s initial story, in which the accusers willingly told their stories.
Also supporting those women’s allegations, a Dominican Republic government official told TheDC in November that Menendez and Melgen were frequent participants in alcohol-fueled sex parties with prostitutes at Melgen’s Dominican resort home.
Menendez has admitted flying to the island nation three times on Melgen’s private jet, all in 2010. Facing Senate Ethics committee scrutiny, Menendez wrote Melgen a $58,500 check in January to cover the cost of two of those trips, nearly three years after they occurred.
A Menendez spokeswoman has declined to answer a question from TheDC about whether that check was ever cashed.
In addition, TheDC reported Feb. 24 that an American escort named Senator Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, as a former client who paid her for sex. That story, based on repeated interviews, quoted the escort as saying that Menendez “sees a lot of girls” from her circle of high-priced call girls. (RELATED: Long-time escort confirms Menendez paid her for sex)
The Gawker website spoke to Menendez’s Washington, D.C. neighbors in November. They said the senator had a series of beautiful women at his apartment who invariably left at 3:00 a.m. They also described hearing loud sexual activity on each occasion.
Forty-four percent of New Jersey voters believe Sen. Bob Menendez is not honest and trustworthy, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released in late February. Two-thirds of those polled said allegations against the Democratic lawmaker should be investigated.