- Associated Press - Monday, February 4, 2013

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A lawyer in the Dominican Republic is dismissing allegations that he and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, attended parties with underage prostitutes.

Vinicio Castillo Seman, the lawyer, says allegations published in the U.S. media and on the Internet are a smear campaign to scuttle a port security contract sought by a company controlled by a U.S. physician of Dominican descent, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Dr. Melgen’s Florida offices recently were searched by federal agents. His attorney says he’s done nothing wrong.

An anonymous tipster has circulated emails accusing Mr. Menendez of allegedly having sex with prostitutes, including at least one under 18, in 2009 and 2010. Some encounters allegedly occurred on Mr. Castillo’s yacht. No proof has been provided, and the senator denies the allegations.

Mr. Castillo said Monday the allegations are “absurd.”

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