(CBS NEWS) -- One of two women who appeared in videos that seemed to corroborate a
tipster's allegation that Sen. Robert Menendez engaged with prostitutes
in the Dominican Republic last year now says she was paid to make up the
claims and has never seen or met the New Jersey Democrat, the
Washington Post reports.
The Post story is being challenged by the website that reported the initial allegations against Menendez.
female escort in the Post story identified a lawyer who she said
approached her and a colleague and offered them money to read from a
script, but did not tell them it would be videotaped. That man then
identified another lawyer who he says gave him the script and paid him
to find women who would be willing to fabricate the claims, according to
affidavits obtained by the Post.
Days before his reelection last November, the
conservative news site The Daily Caller published the videos, which
blurred the women's faces, along with an article alleging that Menendez
had flown to the Dominican Republic and slept with prostitutes at a
resort where Dr. Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor who has made sizable donations to Menendez, had a home.
FBI agents conducting
interviews in the Dominican Republic have not found any evidence to back
up the original tipster, sources told the Post. Last month, Menendez,
who has maintained his innocence, slammed the allegations as "smears"
being peddled by "right-wing blogs."
amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless, individuals on a
website can drive that type of story into the mainstream, but that's
what they have done successfully," Menendez said. "Now, nobody can find
them, no one ever met them, no one ever talked to them, but that's where
we are at. So, the bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely
false, and that's the bottom line."
The Daily Caller
reported online Tuesday that the woman who came forward in the Post
story was not one of the two women in the Daily Caller video.
Washington Post mistook one prostitute for another Monday in a report
that initially seemed to debunk a November 2012 Daily Caller expos? of
New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. While the Post said it had
an affidavit from a woman in the Dominican Republic admitting she
fabricated claims Menendez paid her for sex, that woman was not one of
the two prostitutes The DC interviewed for a Nov. 1 report," the website