Jersey’s Menendez Says Cuba Behind Smear Plot

Claims allegations involving underage prostitutes were designed to slow his political ascent.

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

The Washington Post reports:

Sen. Robert Menendez is asking the Justice Department to pursue evidence obtained by U.S. investigators that the Cuban government concocted an elaborate plot to smear him with allegations that he cavorted with underage prostitutes, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In a letter sent to Justice Department officials, the senator’s attorney asserts that the plot was timed to derail the ­political rise of Menendez (D-N.J.), one of Washington’s most ardent critics of the Castro regime. At the time, Menendez was running for reelection and was preparing to assume the powerful chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

According to a former U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of government intelligence, the CIA had obtained credible evidence, including Internet protocol addresses, linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims and to efforts to plant the story in U.S. and Latin American media.

The Post notes that the FBI investigated the prostitution claims but couldn’t corroborate them. Three women who told such stories to reporters later recanted.

Of course, Menendez might still have problems in Washington. We told you in January he was under investigation for influence-peddling. That investigation is still ongoing, the Post reported.