New Jersey

Visa efforts take center stage at Sen. Menendez trial

NEWARK, N.J. - The bribery trial of New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez has focused on visas the Democratic senator helped get for the alleged girlfriends of a wealthy donor.

Rosiell Polanco-Suera described how her visa application initially was denied in 2008 and then approved. She said after the denial, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen told her he was "going to fix it" by talking to Menendez.

Menendez is charged with accepting bribes from Melgen in exchange for political influence.

During questioning of Svitlana Buchyk, prosecutors showed she had dinner with Melgen and Menendez in Miami, and Melgen joked that Menendez was the person who obtained her visa for her.

Defense attorneys want to show Menendez's involvement in the visa applications was something he did normally and that the women received visas on merit.

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