Dominican woman says she was paid to say she had sex with U.S. senator
(CNN) -- After asserting in a video that U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez had paid her for sex, a Dominican woman now says she was paid to make those claims and has never met the New Jersey Democrat, a court document states.
According to a notarized document, Nexis de los Santos Santana said she was filmed without her knowledge when she claimed to have had sex with Menendez.
"I am the person in the video, that is me, and those are my words, but this statement is not true," Santana said. "I never agreed to be recorded."
Menendez has vigorously defended himself against claims by unidentified accusers. In addition to criticism over accepting unreported plane flights and allegedly advocating on behalf of a business, he was accused of partying with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic -- accusations he said were "unsubstantiated."
"The bottom line is all those smears are absolutely false," Menendez told CNN on February 4.
The confession document was presented at a press conference Monday by lawyer Vinicio Castillo, who said Santana was recruited to make the claims against Menendez by another lawyer, Dr. Miguel Galvan.
Galvan, in a notarized confession, pins the blame on a third lawyer, who Galvan said asked him to assist in a divorce case by finding "witnesses" to claim they had sex for money with Menendez.
CNN has attempted to reach both the lawyers who allegedly recorded the escort making the claims against Menendez, but has not yet received a response.
Questions revolve around his relationship with Salomon Melgen, the Florida man who owned a plane Menendez admits having flown three times -- once on official Senate business, and twice for personal reasons -- to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
Melgen, his wife, Flor, and his daughter, Melissa, have been generous donors to Menendez, his fellow Democrats and related causes in recent years. Castillo is Melgen's cousin and spokesman.
In January, Menendez paid approximately $58,500 to Melgen for the flights he took in 2010, chalking up the lapse in payment to his busy schedule.
In January, Menendez told CNN the claims he'd partied with prostitutes were "absolutely false," calling the allegations "smears."
A law enforcement official said last week the FBI was continuing to "pursue all leads" surrounding the Menendez allegations, including the prostitution charges.
The same law enforcement source said federal agents had gone to the Dominican Republic in hopes of finding the women who claimed to have had sex with Menendez, but that the women had not yet been located.
The video of Santana claiming she had sex with Menendez for money originally appeared on the Daily Caller, a conservative website. The video features a second escort.
In her statement Monday, Santana said she was told she would be paid well for reading the script. Both she and Galvan requested legal protection in making their confessions.