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Menendez Staffer Says Support of Melgen Was Above Board

Karissa Willhite said it was common for senator’s staff to make inquiries within the government on behalf of constituents and supporters

In the Menendez corruption and bribery trial yesterday, a former member of the senator’s staff testified that she sometimes talked with Dr. Salomon Melgen twice a day. At the time, Melgen, who is Menendez’s co-defendant, was being accused by Medicare of overbilling by millions of dollars. The staffer, Karissa Willhite, testified that she “worked on the policy behind the dispute” between the doctor and Medicare.

The government’s case against Menendez and Melgen is that Menendez lobbied Medicare on behalf of Melgen, as well as on another business matter, and on visas for the eye doctor’s girlfriends. It alleges that, in return, Melgen gave Menendez gifts, vacations, and campaign donations. The senator and the doctor contend that they are merely best friends.

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey was in court yesterday to support Menendez.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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