The Daily Caller issued a statement Friday saying that the information allegedly provided by the Dominican lawyer, Melanio Figueroa, was false.
The videotaped claims of two women, made with their faces obscured, were posted in the fall on the Daily Caller. The site reported that “the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, an expensive 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. . . . They claimed Menendez agreed to pay them $500 for sex acts, but in the end they each received only $100.”
In its statement Friday, the Daily Caller said: “At no point did any money change hands between The Daily Caller and any sources or individuals connected with this investigation, nor did anyone named Carlos travel to the Dominican Republic on behalf of The Daily Caller. As recently as two weeks ago, Figueroa was on record with another news outlet as saying the women he represented were telling the truth about their initial allegations against Senator Menendez.”
Tucker Carlson, who runs the Web site, said in a statement provided through his spokesman that the Daily Caller “never paid anyone, was never asked to pay anyone and of course never would pay anyone for this story.”
“It seems clear to me Figueroa is under pressure to change his story,” he said. “What I know for certain is this claim is a lie.”
Earlier this month, Figueroa told the New York Times that he did not make up a plot to “smear” Menendez and his wealthy friend and donor, Salomon Melgen, and that one of the alleged prostitutes had been pressured to say she fabricated her account of sex with the senator.
Under police questioning, Figueroa said the foreign man, who said he worked for the Daily Caller but did not provide identification, asked him to arrange staged interviews, Polanco said.
Polanco said that Figueroa gave police an account describing his involvement in the taping, starting in October. He said he was approached by Carlos about the idea in the fall, and they met in a small bar in a Santo Domingo shopping center to discuss the details, according to Polanco. Figueroa said the foreign man gave him a $2,000 “advance” to make the arrangements for the interview, Polanco said.
In comments reported by Univision, Polanco said that Figueroa stated he has been contacted by four media outlets — Telemundo, Univision, CNN en Español and the Daily Caller — that were interested in interviewing the women. But Figueroa told police it was only “Carlos,” who identified himself as working for the Daily Caller, who came to the Dominican Republic and paid him to arrange the recorded interviews, according to an interview with Polanco.