Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to be called as a witness in New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez’s federal corruption trial.
Menendez has been accused of accepting bribes from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for political contributions, gifts, vacations and expensive private jet rides.
Fox News reports that a source close to the case says that Reid will be called to testify about his interactions with Menendez and Melgen, who donated heavily to a super PAC controlled by Reid.
Federal prosecutors say that in exchange for Melgen’s gifts, Menendez intervened to help the physician in an $8.9 million billing dispute with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
As part of that influence campaign, Menendez reached out to Reid in 2011 for help.
Reid helped set up a meeting between Menendez and Kathleen Sebelius, who then served as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Prosecutors also revealed last month that Reid also reached out the President Obama’s deputy chief of staff in 2011 to communicate Melgen’s frustration over the billing dispute.
Melgen was convicted of 67 counts of Medicare fraud in April. Menendez has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he and Melgen exchanged favors because they were old friends.
Reid and Melgen had their own relationship. The now-retired lawmaker flew on Melgen’s private jet to a fundraiser in June 2012. Melgen also donated $600,000 to Reid’s super PAC.
The Republican National Committee jumped on the news of Reid’s possible appearance at trial.
“Harry Reid’s been implicated, as has Kathleen Sebelius, so it’s clear the corruption extended beyond Menendez’s office,” RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement to Fox News. “Who knows exactly who else will testify, but it’s just as stunning that no Senate Democrat has said Menendez should resign immediately if convicted.”
It is still unclear whether Menendez will remain in office if convicted in the case. He has declined to comment on the issue, and his fellow Democrats have dodged the question.