Robert Mendez asks Justice Dept. to probe if Cuban agents crafted 2012 hooker claims

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Sen. Robert Menendez is calling on the Justice Department to look into whether the Cuban government was involved in attempts to smear him ahead of his 2012 re-election bid by linking him to underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that an attorney for Mr. Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and strong supporter of the embargo on Cuba, sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to look into evidence apparently collected by the CIA that links Cuban agents to the sex story and to getting the story planted it in the media.

The Daily Caller, a conservative website, reported the story in 2012, based on claims from Dominican women that said Menendez paid them for sex.

The FBI investigated the claims, but they never panned out, and Mr. Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, went on to win re-election and to become the head of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Three of the women later changed their stories, the Post reported.

The Post also reported that investigators obtained “credible evidence … linking Cuban agents to the prostitution claims and to efforts to plant the story in U.S. and Latin America media.”

The Cuban Directorate of Intelligence apparently helped create a fake tipster who went by “Pete Williams,” the Post reported.

And FBI agents were tipped off that Mr. Menendez took part in poolside sex parties that included underage prostitutes at the vacation home of his friend Salomon Melgen, who is also a donor.

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