Former aide testifies Menendez helped co-defendant on visas - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Former aide testifies Menendez helped co-defendant on visas

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A former staffer for U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has testified that the New Jersey Democrat was involved in helping with the visa applications of friends of a wealthy doctor who is on trial with him.

Former senior policy adviser Mark Lopes testified Menendez emailed him in 2008 authorizing a letter of support from Menendez to be sent to consular officials.

Menendez is charged with accepting gifts and campaign donations from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for political influence.

A vice president for American Express testified Monday that Melgen used about 650,000 AmEx points to pay for a Paris hotel room for Menendez in 2010.

Menendez has said Melgen's gifts were a result of their longtime friendship and weren't bribes.

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