A Dominican woman who appeared in a video accusing Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) of paying her to have sex now says she was paid to make the accusations, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Nexis de los Santos Santana told Dominican Republic police that she had never met Menendez, who has visited the country multiple times. The woman and her friend appeared in the video after being approached by a lawyer. That lawyer identified a second lawyer who allegedly provided him with a script and paid him to find the women, according to affidavits obtained by the Post.
The documents were released by Vinicio Castillo Semán, the cousin of major Menendez contributor Dr. Salomon Melgen, according to the Miami Herald. Melgen was also implicated in the prostitution scandal.
The video was published by The Daily Caller days before Menendez was reelected last November. In the video, the two women alleged the Democratic senator had agreed to pay them for sex while he was staying with Melgen in the Dominican Republic.
The video appeared to back up claims made by Peter Williams last year.
In a series of emails, he told Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that Menendez engaged "in inappropriate sexual activities with young prostitutes while on vacation in the Dominican Republic." The identity of Peter Williams has not been confirmed.
Menendez denied the allegations, describing them as a right-wing fabrication.
“It’s amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a Web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream, but that’s what they’ve done successfully,” Menendez said last month. “Now, nobody can find them. No one ever met them. No one ever talked to them, but that’s where we’re at. So the bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false and, you know, that’s the bottom line.”
The FBI launched an investigation but found no evidence to back up the prostitution allegations.
Update (9:15 a.m., March 5, 2013):: The Daily Caller on Tuesday claimed that the escort in The Washington Post's report "was not one of the two prostitutes TheDC interviewed for a Nov. 1 report."