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A prostitute who triggered a political scandal by claiming US Senator Robert Menendez paid her for sex has admitted she made up the allegations, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
The Post report said the escort had told police in her native Dominican Republic that she had been paid to fabricate claims against the Democratic lawmaker, who is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The report cited court documents and two people briefed on the issue as saying the woman admitted she had never met or seen Menendez before.
She reportedly told investigators she had been accepted money from a lawyer to make the claims, according to affidavits seen by the Post.
Menendez angrily denied the allegations last month, saying he had been the victim of a smear campaign.
"Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false," he said.
Elected to the Senate in 2006 after a stint in the House of Representatives, Menendez was re-elected in November to a second, six-year mandate.
Menendez succeeded John Kerry -- now serving as US President Barack Obama's secretary of state -- as chairman of the prestigious foreign relations committee.