Prostitute recants sex claims against Senator Robert Menendez

Call-girl withdraws allegations after admitting she was paid to make it all up claims New Jersey Democrat in clear over sex orgy scandal but is still under investigation

Whatever Senator Robert Menendez may have got up to with one of his biggest political donors, it seems we can strike naughty orgies with call girls in the Dominican Republic from the list.

In an unexpected turn in Washington’s newest ethics scandal, a prostitute who last autumn said she had had sex for cash with Senator Menendez at an apartment in the Dominican Republic, owned by Dr Salomon Melgen of West Palm Beach, has now said she made the whole thing up.

The development has prompted Senator Menendez  – a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – to reiterate his claims that he has been the victim of a smear campaign. It also set off a tit-for-tat round of recriminations between the conservative website that first carried the prostitution claims last year, The Daily Caller, and The Washington Post, which carried the news that the prostitute had recanted.

“There are obviously some interests using right-wing blogs that have been perpetuating smears about me and I hope that all the truth comes out, because they are nothing but that – smears,” the senator declared.

But Senator Menendez remains the subject of a Senate ethics investigation seeking to establish whether he has improperly tried to use his position to help Dr Melgen’s assorted business interests in return for a $700,000 (£463,000) donation to himself and other Democrats last year.

Senator Menendez has been forced to reimburse $58,000 to the doctor for two flights on his private jet to the Dominican Republic that he had omitted to report to oversight authorities. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that he had sponsored new legislation to promote the use of natural gas in vehicle fleets that may help a company in which the doctor has invested. 

The Daily Caller suggested last night that the Washington Post had erred because the prostitute now denying having had sex with the senator was not the prostitute in its original report last year. The Post stood by its reporting.

Instrumental in trying to debunk the sex orgy claims was a prominent lawyer in the Dominican Republic, Vinicio Castillo Selmán, a cousin of Dr Melgen, who had been accused of setting up and joining the orgies. The Daily Caller said that “two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic… They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”

But the escort who has now come forward, identified as Nexis de los Santos Santana, 23, told the Post she was coaxed into the original videotaped statement by a lawyer in return for money. The paper pointed out that the FBI had found no evidence to support the sex claims.

“We are witnessing a perverse and criminal plot orchestrated by dark sectors of the Dominican Republic,” Mr Castillo said in a statement.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot