Menendez Allegations Prove False
Friday, March 8, 2013 • 7:23am
Recently, this writer suggested that the anonymous allegations about United States Senator Bob Menendez were suspiciously similar to the unsubstantiated, and later proven false, rumors that were the creation of Donald Segretti 40 years ago. Segretti was a young lawyer who was hired by President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign to spread false stories about key Democrats. United States Senator Scoop Jackson, Governor and Senator Edmund Muskie, and United States Senator and Presidential Candidate George McGovern were among those about whom Segretti created and spread false allegations.
Segretti went so far as to forge false documents and letters as part of his “Dirty Tricks” tactics. Eventually, the hoax was revealed and Segretti was disbarred and went to prison for a short time. Now, the Washington Post reported on March 4, 2013 that the allegations about Menendez were part of an organized hoax. The alleged teenage
prostitutes who were implicated in the allegations about Menendez have revealed that they were paid to make the false claims. In fact, they now indicate that they were given a script to follow when making the accusations.
According to the Washington Post article:
“An escort who appeared on a video claiming Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was instead paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before, according to court documents and two people briefed on her claim.”
Among the fictional stories that Sehretti created in 1972 were the allegations that Senator Jackson had sired an illegitimate child with an underage girl. Although the stories about Jackson, Muskie and McGovern were proven false, the damage had been done. Muskie withdrew his presidential candidacy when he realized that he was spending all his time defending himself against the false stories and not discussing relevant issues.
The recent Post article also reveals that the young girl who made the allegation was paid by a lawyer, in addition to receiving a script to follow. The Post article continues:
“The woman identified a lawyer who approached her and a friend to make the videotape, according to affidavits obtained by the Post. That man has in turn identified another lawyer who gave him a script for the tape and paid him to find women to fabricate the claims, the affidavits say.”
The stories about Menendez were similar in nature. The allegations arose as he became the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Accusations also were levied at the Senator during his last two election campaigns and law enforcement investigations failed to find substantive evidence and no charges were filed. It has been suggested that his view of the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba differs from that of some members of
the committee. Unfortunately, many individuals, including journalists, were so eager for a story that they spread the false allegations about Menendez like wild fire.
We, as a nation, can ill afford to have such illicit campaign tactics control the media or our conversations at the work place. These false rumors have taken up far too much news space and have diverted our attention away from important public policy issues and directed it to salacious back-room discussions.
We, as members of the national congregation of citizens, owe Bob Menendez an apology for allowing the American rhetoric to take up time and news space. However, we as a society, are also victims, and we must work to make sure that we are never so victimized again.
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