Dr. Salomon Melgen, center, indicted on bribery charges along with N.J. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, outside the federal courthouse in Newark, New Jersey. (Carmen Natale)
A federal jury on Friday convicted Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, a close associate of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, of health care-related fraud.
The jury, sitting in the Southern District of Florida, convicted Melgen of all 67 counts he was facing. He was immediately taken into custody.
It was not immediately clear what impact the verdict will have on Menendez’s upcoming corruption trial.
Menendez is accused of accepting money and gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his office to intervene with federal officials on behalf of Melgen’s personal and business interests.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Menendez’s plea to dismiss the case, claiming charges against him are pre-empted by the speech or debate clause of the Constitution.
The court’s order denying certiorari clears the way for U.S. District Judge William Walls of the District of New Jersey to resume pretrial proceedings, which have been on hold since Menendez filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in November 2015.
Melgen, 62, could be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Stefin told reporters after the verdict. Attempts by the Law Journal to contact Stefin and Melgen’s lead attorney, Kirk Ogrosky, of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer were unsuccessful.
Melgen had been accused of taking in up to $105 million through fraudulent Medicare claims.
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