Sen. Robert Menendez launched a wide-ranging attack on the corruption charges against him Monday, accusing Justice Department prosecutors of misconduct and setting the stage for what is likely to be a confrontational and heated court fight.
The Democrat’s attorneys filed a series of motions to dismiss the 22-count indictment against him and the Florida eye doctor who allegedly bought the senator’s influence with vacations and campaign donations.
Among other claims, the motions accuse the government of intimidating witnesses and presenting false testimony to a grand jury. They claim prosecutors skirted a federal appeals court ruling and presented evidence to the grand jury that should have been off-limits.
Lawyers for Menendez suggest the indictment attempts to criminalize ordinary acts of citizens who endeavor to secure access or influence to a politician.
“Officials frequently sell access by spending time with those who pay to attend fundraising events, and they are quick to answer the phone and lend an ear when major donors call,” one of the motions said. “Even presidents have been known to invite major donors to the White House for coffee or dinner, or even to stay the night in the Lincoln bedroom.”