Seeking dismissal, Menendez lawyers argue federal prosecutors presented false testimony

In an attempt to have the federal corruption indictment against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) thrown out, defense attorneys have filed motions arguing that federal prosecutors submitted false testimony to a grand jury, according to

Specifically, Menendez's attorneys say that prosecutors relied on the testimony of an FBI agent to support allegations that he intervened with Medicare officials on behalf of Salomon Melgen, M.D., a Florida ophthalmologist that was under investigation for overbilling Medicare $8.9 million in 2009. In April, Melgen was arrested on 76 counts of healthcare fraud totaling $105 million.

Although prosecutors claim that Menendez organized meetings with former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), defense attorneys claim that prosecutors never called on the government officials to testify about whether Mendez asked them to intervene on the reimbursement dispute. His attorneys also argued that under the Speech or Debate Clause, Menendez is immune from prosecution when he is engaged in duties related to his job.

Barring a dismissal, Menendez's trial is scheduled to begin in October. Menendez's defense will likely rest on the notion that he and Melgen were merely longtime friends, as FierceHealthPayer: AntiFraud previously reported, and the money that Melgen donated to his campaign did not serve as a quid pro quo to intervene in the Medicare overbilling investigation against him. Prosecutors are expected to focus on the timing of gifts and favors to support corruption charges.

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