Sources told CNN prosecutors won’t call the retired ex-minority leader to testify, but his involvement threatens to blow the case open for the entire Democratic Party.
Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) federal corruption trial has now ensnared one of the biggest names in Democratic politics from the last four decades: Harry Reid.
The former minority leader and chief of the Senate Democrats, who retired in 2016, has been a key subject in the fifth week of the Menendez trial.
CNN reported on Wednesday that prosecutors won’t call Reid to testify, but a meeting between Reid and Menendez is key to the prosecution’s case against the New Jersey senator:
Prosecutors do not plan to call former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a witness in their case against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.
…Prosecutors have framed [a] 2012 meeting [between Reid and Menendez] as an effort by Menendez to advocate on behalf of Melgen, who was facing an $8.9 million repayment demand from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over his billing practice for the eye drug, Lucentis. Prosecutors say Menendez accepted political donations and other perks from Melgen in exchange for the senator’s assistance with the dispute — allegations the two men deny.
Despite Reid’s retirement, the pugnacious ex-senator is still very much involved in both Nevada and national politics.
- Reid was allegedly a key factor in Rep. Jacky Rosen’s (D-NV) decision to challenge Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) in 2018, despite making that decision with only a few months in Congress under her belt.
- Rosen is clearly uncomfortable with the subject of Reid, trying to demonstrate her decision to run was independent of the ex-leader’s imprimatur
- Reid is butting heads with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sanders’ Our Revolution group in his home state, one more bit of evidence on the Democratic divide in 2017
Reid, an omnipresent figure in Democratic politics, may imperil Rosen and the entire Democratic Party if he’s dragged down with Menendez as the trial continues.
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