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Addressing Controversy, Menendez Invokes Words Of MLK At Black History Month Event

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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From CBSNews.com

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Amid a handful of allegations that threaten to mar his reputation in the Senate, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., continues to maintain his innocence, decrying the accusations as right-wing attempts to “destroy” his career and invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in asserting his faith that justice will win out.

Menendez, who was re-elected to his seat in November, has since been hit with allegations that he solicited prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, where prostitution is legal. The FBI is looking into the claims. The allegations were originally reported by a conservative website citing an anonymous source.

Menendez has also been accused of improperly lobbying the State Department on a port security contract on behalf of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a close friend and donor. Menendez recently reimbursed Melgen $58,000 for two of three trips he took on Melgen’s plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010, but called the tardy reimbursement an honest oversight and says the allegations against him are “absolutely false.” The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating Menendez regarding those trips. Melgen himself is the target of more than one federal investigation stemming from allegations of Medicare fraud.

This weekend, at an event celebrating Black History Month at Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, N.J., the senator answered the accusations with the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. King said that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,'” he said, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “Now we face anonymous, faceless, nameless individuals from right-wing sources seeking to destroy a lifetime of work. And their scares are false. I have worked too hard and too long in the vineyards to allow, at my hands, for the harvest to be soured.”