After claims from anonymous escorts and then their apparently sudden retractions — plus mysterious websites, secret tipsters, and political partisans — you’d think the Robert Menendez prostitution allegations story couldn’t possibly get any weirder. And yet it just has.A Dominican lawyer who has been at the center of the story all along is now saying that four media outlets, including conservative website The Daily Caller, asked him to help find women to lie and say they had been paid to have sex with the Democratic senator from New Jersey. This comes just weeks after the same lawyer, Melanio Figueroa, denied orchestrating the prostitution allegations.
According to Jose Antonio Polanco, the district attorney for the La Romana region in the Dominican Republic, Figueroa told investigators this week that Telemundo, Univision, CNN Espanol, and The Daily Caller enlisted him to help make the video with the young women who made the claims. Polanco’s remarks were broadcast in a Univision news segment put online early Friday.
Furthermore, Polanco said, Figueroa claimed a man named “Carlos,” who said he worked for The Daily Caller, went to the Dominican Republic and offered Figueroa $5,000 for his assistance. Figueroa then claimed to have contacted a second lawyer, Miguel Galvan, who served as a middleman between Figueroa and the women who appeared in the video interviews. (Earlier this month, Galvan said in a affidavit that he had been deceived by Figueroa.) In its original story about the allegations in November, The Daily Caller reported that Figueroa was the women’s attorney, and that he was present during the interviews with the young women.
Every outlet named by Figueroa has denied the accusations. Asked on camera by Univision who from that network had contacted him, Figueroa said he could not remember. The Daily Caller, for its part, published a story reporting Figueroa’s claims, and then refuting them.
“It seems clear to me Figueroa is under pressure to change his story,” Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson said in a statement to his own website. “What I know for certain is this claim is a lie. The Daily Caller never paid anyone, was never asked to pay anyone and of course never would pay anyone for this story.”
The Daily Caller said no one by the name “Carlos” ever went to the Dominican Republic on the website’s behalf.