The Latest: Ex-Menendez aide testifies about help on visas - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

The Latest: Ex-Menendez aide testifies about help on visas

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - The Latest on the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and a wealthy donor (all times local):

3 p.m.

A former adviser to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has testified there wasn't anything improper about the New Jersey Democrat's intervention in the visa application of a friend of a wealthy doctor who is on trial with him on bribery charges.

Mark Lopes testified Monday that Menendez wrote a letter to consular officials in support of a Brazilian woman's 2008 application.

The woman was a friend of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, who is on trial with Menendez.

On cross-examination by defense attorneys, Lopes said that he saw nothing improper about Menendez's actions and that Menendez's office routinely got involved in visa issues.

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

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

12:15 p.m.

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.

10 a.m.

Testimony resumes in the third day of the corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.

The New Jersey Democrat arrived at the federal courthouse in Newark on Monday along with fellow defendant Salomon Melgen.

Menendez is charged with accepting gifts and campaign donations from the Florida ophthalmologist over several years in exchange for pressuring government officials to help with Melgen's Medicare dispute, his company's port security contract in the Dominican Republic and visas for Melgen's reputed foreign girlfriends.

Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Melgen's sentencing following his conviction in a separate Medicare fraud case has been delayed until after his trial with Menendez.

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