The Justice Department indicted Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on corruption charges Wednesday, bringing the first criminal charges against a sitting U.S. senator since the botched prosecution of Alaska’s Ted Stevens seven years ago.
Mr. Menendez, 61 years old, has said he plans to fight any charges, which are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the relationship between the senator and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
A federal grand jury in Newark, N.J., handed down a 14-count indictment, charging Mr. Menendez with crimes including conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud. Dr. Melgen was also charged in relation with the alleged scheme.
Like many defendants who aren’t considered a threat to public safety or a flight risk, Mr. Menendez would be allowed to turn himself in to authorities after an indictment is handed down, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FBI has been probing whether Mr. Menendez used his position to try to help Dr. Melgen with his legal troubles and whether the senator sought to improperly aid Dr. Melgen’s business interests in a Dominican Republic port security company. Dr. Melgen’s lawyer has previously said the doctor acted appropriately at all times.