Doctor tied to Sen. Robert Menendez released on bail with strict constraints

Two months after his arrest and one month after a judge denied bail, calling him a flight risk due to his ties to the Dominican Republic, Salomon Melgen, M.D., will be released on bail, according to the Miami Herald.

Melgen, who faces 76 counts of healthcare fraud worth $105 million, as well as corruption charges with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), will be released under a strict set of conditions. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra overturned a previous decision by Magistrate Judge James Hopkins, who originally called Melgen a flight risk. On Monday, Hopkins could not decide how high to set Melgen's bond, electing to continue deliberations until Wednesday over questions about the ophthalmologist's assets, The Herald reported.

Federal prosecutors are requesting a $20 million bond for Melgen because of fears that he will flee to the Dominican Republic once released, according to the Palm Beach Post. Before leaving the final decision to Hopkins, Mara outlined specific terms that should be included in Melgen's release, including house arrest with electronic monitoring, the Post reported. Additionally, Melgen will not be allowed to reside near a waterway, have access to his boat or private jet, and must provide a written declaration from Dominican government officials pledging not to block his extradition if he does flee.

Another factor that set the stage for Melgen's release was his involvement in a corruption charges against Menendez. Marra reasoned that the notoriety of the case "makes it unlikely that any attempt to flee would be successful," according to The Herald.

As FierceHealthPayer: AntiFraud previously reported, prosecutors in the corruption case will need to prove that the timing of Melgen's gifts influenced Menendez to take action on his behalf. Defendants, meanwhile, will lean on the longstanding friendship between the two men. The fraud case, filed separately by federal prosecutors, revolves around unnecessary eye injections that totaled $105 million over a five-year period.  

For more:
- here's the Miami Herald article
- read the Palm Beach Post article