U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey says, ''I will be vindicated'' after he is indicted on corruption charges. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS**DIGITAL USE ONLY, NO BROADCAST USE WORLDWIDE, NO ACCESS AUSTRALIA BROADCASTER WEBSITES. NO ACCESS ABC AMERICA, FOX, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO, BBC AMERICA, NBC, OR THEIR DIGITAL/MOBILE PLATFORMS.**~ ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey says, "I will be vindicated" after he is indicted on corruption charges. Earlier, Menendez was indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey for accepting gifts from Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to benefit Melgen's financial and personal interests, according to the court filing. The allegations against Menendez, a senior lawmaker on foreign policy and banking, raise the possibility of Republicans gaining a 55th Senate seat to strengthen their hand in policy fights with Democratic President Barack Obama, should the senator decide to resign his seat. Menendez was stepping down as ranking member, or top Democrat, on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee, Senate aides said. The Justice Department said Menendez accepted up to $1 million worth of lavish gifts and campaign contributions from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his Senate office to influence the outcome of Medicare billing disputes worth tens of millions of dollars to Melgen. The indictment said Melgen improperly gave Menendez flights on private jets, use of a Caribbean villa, a stay at a luxury hotel in Paris and tens of thousands of dollars to a legal defense fund. Between 2007 and 2012, Menendez never disclosed any of the reportable gifts that he received from Melgen and withheld the information from his Senate staff, the indictment said.