News of a prostitution scandal (which turned out to be totally fake, btw) involving U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez enraptured the right-wing blog The Daily Caller for months. Ooh, a Democratic Senator caught soliciting sex with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic? A major donor was somehow involved? The conservative news media collectively creamed its long underwear.
Then, alas, the Washington Post reported that at least one of the sex workers was "paid to make up the claims in a tape recording and has never met or seen the senator before." Now, police in the Dominican Republic say that a grand total of three women were paid to falsely claim in videotaped interviews that they had sex Menendez.
Quoth the AP:
The women, whose claims generated media attention in the United States, were hired by a Dominican attorney to make the videotaped statements, spokesman Maximo Baez told reporters. Two of the women received about $425 and the other was paid about $300, he said.
Authorities are seeking to interrogate the attorney, Melanio Figueroa, about the payments and have not determined his motive or whether he was in turn paid by someone else to set up the interviews, Baez said.
The women have not been detained.
The latest report from the Dominican police is the most detailed information on the fabricated scandal since the WaPo's report at the beginning of March. Moreover, Jose Polanco, a prosecutor in La Romana, has said that none of the three women was underage at the time of the supposed encounters with Menendez. Way to go, conservative bloggers of America.