Senator Sex Scandal Escort Says She Was Paid to Lie

For months now, right-wing blog The Daily Caller has been pushing the salacious story of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and his taste for underage Dominican prostitutes—based largely on a video interview with two young Dominican woman who said they'd been paid for sex with the senator. The story wasicked up by every right-wing blogger and pundit in creation—and connected with another, less sexy scandal involving Menendez and a major donor, Salomon Melgen—gaining enough momentum to be mentioned more than once (albeit hedged) in The New York Times.

And now it's all falling apart: The Washington Post reports that one of the sex workers featured in the initial video interview says she was "paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before." This is what happens when you trust the Daily Caller.

The Post, whose reporting is rather better sourced than that of the Caller's, writes that FBI investigators have "found no evidence to back up the tipster's allegations [of underage prostitution], according to two people briefed on their work." The woman who recanted her claim says she and a friend were approached by a lawyer and solicited to make the false claims; that lawyer was apparently himself approached by another lawyer who gave the first lawyer a script and some money to find willing actors.

(Who were those lawyers? The Post doesn't identify either. If I were looking into it I'd start in Falls Church, Va., where—the Times reported last month—"a small team of veteran Republican investigators" has been leading the anti-Menendez charge.)

Anyway, the fact that the escort has recanted doesn't mean Menendez is blameless or scandal-free: the senator has admitted to intervening with federal agencies in ways that benefitted Dr. Salomon Melgen, a donor who lives in the Dominican Republic and is currently under investigation for medicare fraud. (Also, there is this whole business with the loud sex with a young lady?) It just means that whoever tried to pull this off is not very good at whatever House of Cards shit they're trying to pull.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson's Internet Concern for Whites motors along brightly, no sign of the Post's news on its front page. (You can, however, read "Ashley Judd, potential U.S. Senate candidate, sure has done a lot of on-screen nudity" and "Adam Carolla grills Gavin Newsom on minority groups' poverty numbers .") It's another home run from the people that brought you "Look At This Scary Black Kid's Tweets" and "I Think a Black Guy Stole My Bike."

[WaPo]