SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Three women were paid to falsely claim in videotaped interviews that they had sex for money with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in the Dominican Republic, a spokesman for the police said Monday.
The women, whose claims generated media attention in the United States, were hired by a Dominican lawyer to make the videotaped statements, spokesman Maximo Baez told reporters. Two of the women received about $425 and the other was paid about $300, he said. Authorities are seeking to interrogate the lawyer, Melanio Figueroa, about the payments and have not determined his motive or whether he was in turn paid by someone else to set up the interviews, Baez said.
The police spokesman was making his most detailed comments to date on an investigation into the source of allegations that Menendez, D-N.J., had sex with prostitutes, including two who were underage at the time, while in the Dominican Republic with his friend and campaign contributor, Salomon Melgen, a South Florida doctor, and Vinicio Castillo Seman, a lawyer whose family is politically prominent in the Dominican Republic. Castillo and Menendez have denied hiring prostitutes.
A spokeswoman for Menendez, Tricia Enright, said she hopes U.S. authorities will also investigate to determine who was behind the allegations.
Menendez is being investigated by a Miami federal grand jury for his role in advocating for Melgen's business interests, according to the Washington Post.