(Bloomberg) – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, in trying to help a campaign donor who was accused of overbilling the government, enlisted then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “amplify the pressure” on the Obama administration, the Justice Department said.
Reid contacted a White House staffer, who declined to help, prosecutors disclosed Wednesday in a court filing.
Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, faces a corruption trial next week with Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and close friend accused of bribing him with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and lavish trips in exchange for his help on government disputes.
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Menendez “enlisted” Reid in November 2011 to help pressure the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, to reverse its ruling that Melgen owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare. Reid contacted a White House deputy chief of staff, prosecutors said.