Two maids allege that FBI agents from Miami tried to brow-beat them into making incriminating statements against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, during questioning about alleged sex parties at the Dominican Republic resort home of a South Florida doctor who hosted Menendez numerous times.
The maids, both employees of Dr. Salomon Melgen, have asked the Dominican National Police to investigate the FBI’s interrogation of them, saying they were illegally detained and felt threatened during the interviews in February in La Romana.
The maids’ allegations were contained in written affidavits submitted to police on March 6. About two weeks later, Dominican police said that a Santo Domingo lawyer had paid three women to falsely claim on video camera last year that they had sex with Menendez in a possible smear campaign.
One of the housekeepers who works in Melgen’s Casa de Campo villa asserted she was questioned by two FBI agents from Miami about the senator’s visits. “The questions posed to her were directed at forcing her to admit” that Menendez “participated in parties with women or prostitutes” at the doctor’s vacation home, according to her written accusation.
Rosa de Jesus Acosta, who was arrested Feb. 22 by Dominican officers at her La Romana apartment for FBI questioning at the local police station, “stated such statements were lies,” according to the affidavit.
“She stated that on the occasions that Mr. Menendez had visited the doctor’s villa, he only played golf and spent most of the time alone, reading and resting,” the documents said. “Despite her reiteration of this, on more than one occasion the agents pressured her psychologically by stating that she could be jailed if she did not say what they expected.”
Added the second maid, Mirian Rivera: “She could tell that the interrogators did not like her responses. As it was with her co-worker, the agents attempted to scare her. She responded with the truth.”
Their declarations –– the first independent confirmation that the FBI has been investigating allegations that the New Jersey Democrat was involved with prostitutes — were the latest twist in the scandal that has engulfed Menendez and his close friend, Melgen, in recent months.
Last month, Dominican police said Santo Domingo attorney Melanio Figueroa paid three women between $300 and $425 each to record interviews in October, saying they were hookers who had had sex with a man named “Bob.’’
Two of those videotaped interviews might have been published by conservative news website The Daily Caller just before the November elections. The women, whose faces were blurred out to conceal their identities, claimed to have been paid as escorts for sex with “Bob.”
The police announcement provided the strongest evidence yet contradicting accusations that Menendez flew in the doctor’s private plane to the Dominican Republic for sex parties at his vacation home. The prominent Palm Beach County eye doctor has been a major donor to Menendez and other politicians.
News of the housekeepers’ allegations that the FBI violated their rights surfaced last weekend, when the Dominican Republic’s director of government ethics and integrity disclosed that both maids had been interrogated by U.S. federal agents at the police station.