A YouTube account attributed to New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is attempting to pass off a former Senate staffer and the wife of his former law partner as rank-and-file supporters who showed up to defend him at his federal corruption trial this week.
A video posted to a “Senator Menendez” YouTube account on Thursday shows three women discussing why they supported the Democrat, who is accused of accepting bribes from Florida eye doctor, Salomon Melgen.
Carolyn Fefferman and Gina Diaz are two of the women who spoke in the video, entitled “Supporters of Sen. Bob Menendez Speak Out.”
But despite their portrayal in the video as random Menendez supporters, both Fefferman and Diaz have longstanding ties to the embattled lawmaker.
Fefferman worked as a senior adviser to Menendez, and Diaz is married to a political operative who was once a law partner of Menendez’s.
“I think he’s going to be exonerated, and I’m sorry that he has to go through this,” Fefferman told reporters outside of the federal courthouse in Newark, N.J.
“He is wondering human being. He’s a great advocate to the voiceless in the state. I know him as Bob, because he makes me feel that way,” Diaz says in the video.
“I think this is a tragic, just tragic, that they’re doing to my friend. I really just can’t believe this is happening. It’s really surreal, and it’s unfair.”
Phil Kerpen, the president of the free market group American Commitment and a close watcher of the Menendez trial, flagged the Menendez video on Twitter. The Washington Free Beacon noted that while it was not clear whether Menendez’s office posted the video, his campaign Twitter account tweeted out links to it.
Fefferman, a political consultant, worked for Menendez until 2014.
“Carolyn Gehl Fefferman, Esq. has been working in the area of law and social policy for the past ten years, first in the private sector and then for eight years for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez,” reads her firm’s website.
“As Senior Advisor to Senator Menendez, she focused on a number of policy issues including environment, energy, health, seniors, transportation, and foreign affairs,” reads the site, which also states that Fefferman served as Mendendez’s “liaison to the Jewish community” for eight years.
Diaz, the head of the department of health in West New York, N.J., is married to Manny Diaz, a political operative who worked with Menendez in the 1980s.
Manny Diaz was disbarred in the 1990s after being convicted of cocaine trafficking and misusing clients’ funds. He is now an aide to Felix Roque, the mayor of West New York and one of the few New Jersey politicians who has come out in support of Menendez.
Asked about the video, a spokeswoman for Menendez declined comment.
“I honestly have no interest in providing comment to The Daily Caller. Thanks,” said Patricia Enright.