By Zachary Fagenson WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida ophthalmologist accused of giving lavish gifts to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in a corruption scandal that led to criminal charges against the New Jersey Democrat pleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court to Medicare fraud charges. Salomon Melgen faces 76 counts of Medicare fraud and falsifying medical records, for which he has been jailed in southern Florida since his indictment on Tuesday.
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO (AP) — A blanket of fog lifts, exposing a band of rainbow sheen that stretches for miles off the coast of Louisiana. From the vantage point of an airplane, it's easy to see gas bubbles in the slick that mark the spot where an oil platform toppled during a 2004 hurricane, triggering what might be the longest-running commercial oil spill ever to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.
(Story officially corrects Melgen age by U.S. prosecutors in Miami from 61 to 60 in fifth paragraph) By Zachary Fagenson WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida ophthalmologist accused of showering New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez with gifts in exchange for help on Medicare disputes plans to fight new federal charges of fraud related to millions in Medicare payments, his attorney said on Wednesday. An arraignment hearing in the Medicare fraud case was continued to Thursday after Salomon Melgen appeared briefly in Florida federal court on Wednesday morning wearing handcuffs and disheveled in a blue jumpsuit. Melgen, who has pleaded not guilty in the Menendez case, now also faces 76 counts of Medicare fraud and falsifying medical records. Melgen was arrested and indicted on Tuesday for Medicare fraud by the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami.
SEATTLE (AP) — The father of the Washington teenager who fatally shot four high school classmates and then himself in October pleaded not guilty in federal court to illegally possessing the gun used in the slayings.
DALLAS (AP) — In a story April 14 about a church leader accused of helping starve a 2-year-old boy, The Associated Press, relying on court documents, erroneously spelled the suspect's first name. Her name is Aracely Meza, not Araceli Meza.
CHICAGO (AP) — A former employer of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's hand-picked chief of Chicago schools — a company that was awarded a no-bid contract of up to $20.5 million with the nation's third-largest district — said it is cooperating with federal authorities investigating the district.
A Florida man who caused a major security scare after landing a small helicopter on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol was charged with two criminal offenses on Thursday and then released pending trial. Douglas Mark Hughes, 61, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, faces up to four years in prison on charges of unlawfully operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national defense airspace. Hughes was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after he flew his "gyro copter" over Washington and landed on the Capitol grounds. Aircraft are banned from flying in the area of the Capitol and the White House without permission.