By Rich Zeoli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rich Zeoli talked to lawyer and former federal prosecutor for the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, Lee Vartan, on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about the corruption charges against New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez.

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Vartan explained that the federal case will center on Menendez’ relationship with a Florida ophthalmologist, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

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“The heart of the charges are bribery charges, specifically that Salomon Melgen was bribing Senator Menendez for official acts.”

He is sure the federal authorities have assembled a very solid case against the Senator.

“Anytime the government is prosecuting you that means they’ve spent a year plus, I’m sure in this case, multiple years, investigating the claims, interviewing every single person that they could interview, combing over documents. There’s no question that this is still going to be a difficult case for the defense to defend against. I think the government is hoping that the indictment that they’ve put together, with all of the different salacious acts about Brazilian models,and visas, and the fact that there are trips to expensive hotels in Paris, that they’re going to throw a lot against the wall and the jury is going to say, something’s not right here.”

However, Vartan said if it can be shown the relationship between the two is what Menendez claims, then there is a path to an acquittal.

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“This is a defensible case…What Menendez is going to say, what Melgen will say, ‘these were not bribes. They were gifts. Not even between friends, but between folks who, almost, were family members.’ I imagine that Menendez and Melgen are going to come forward at trial and show they have a longstanding relationship where they were at one another’s homes [and] significant events, that they almost were like family members.”