SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, March 19 (UPI) -- A lawyer arranged and paid for the stories of three women who said they had sex with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, police in the Dominican Republic say.
Gen. Maximo Baez Aybar of the National Police said at a news conference Monday that Melanio Figueroa told the women he wanted evidence for a divorce case, The Miami Herald reported. Figueroa allegedly said he was targeting a man he identified only as "Bob" and did not let them know the attempt was to discredit a U.S. senator.
Two of the women were paid $425 each and a third $300, Baez said. He said Figueroa "contacted another attorney, Miguel Angel Galvan, to find three women and make a recording in which they cite the name 'Bob.'"
Figueroa is being sought for questioning, Baez said.
Videotape of the three women was run by the right-wing website "The Daily Caller."
Menendez is under investigation for his ties to Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor and political donor. The FBI has also reportedly been dealing with a tipster using the name Peter Williams who said in emails that Menendez had sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
"The evidence released today by Dominican law enforcement authorities proves what we have said all along: that the smear campaign against Senator Menendez is based on lies, lies we now know were paid for by interests whose identities have not yet been fully disclosed," his office said in a statement Monday.