An employee from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services described a 2012 meeting with Menendez as “very angry, very hostile.”
Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) federal corruption trial continued Monday as a witness from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services testified against the New Jersey Democrat.
Describing a 2012 meeting between Menendez, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Jonathan Blum said Menendez’s “tone was very angry, very hostile. I found I was being put on the defensive and it was a very angry exchange.”
Menendez was lobbying Blum on behalf of eye doctor Salomon Melgen, the New Jersey senator’s co-defendant in the corruption case.
Prosecutors have argued that Menendez used his power in the Senate to help get Melgen out of paying the $8.9 million bill he owed to Medicare after overcharging for an expensive eye medicine.
In exchange, they allege, Menendez received gifts and private jet flights from Melgen.
Blum told the jury he thought Menendez wanted the CMS “to relieve, forgive, or lessen” Melgen’s bill.
Blum expressed surprise at Menendez’s fierce advocacy on behalf of Melgen, who lives in Florida and is not a constituent.
This is likely not the last jurors will hear of this exchange. Fox News reported that Sebelius will testify Tuesday at Menendez’s corruption trial.
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