NEWARK, N.J. — The Latest on the bribery trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and wealthy donor (all times local):

2 p.m.

A former U.S. senator has testified at the bribery trial of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.

Former Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa testified he met with Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in 2011 to discuss Melgen’s multimillion-dollar billing dispute with Medicare.

Menendez referred Melgen to Harkin, who chaired a Senate health committee at the time.

Harkin testified he listened to Melgen but didn’t take any action. He said Menendez attended the meeting but didn’t speak.

On his way out of court, Harkin stopped to shake Menendez’s hand.

Prosecutors contend the meeting was one of numerous examples of Menendez using his political influence in exchange for trips on Melgen’s private plane and luxury hotel stays.

The two men are longtime friends and deny there was any bribery agreement.


1 p.m.

A former health administrator has testified a staffer to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez used Menendez’s name to lobby for a Florida eye doctor in a multimillion-dollar Medicare dispute.

The official testified Wednesday in the bribery trial of the New Jersey Democrat and the doctor, Salomon Melgen.

An indictment accuses Menendez of exchanging his political influence for gifts, including flights on Melgen’s private jet and luxury hotel stays. The two longtime friends say there was no bribery arrangement.

The former administrator testified a Menendez staffer told him on the phone in 2009 that Melgen “was a personal friend of the senator” and that the staffer was “argumentative and persistent.”

Defense attorneys contend Menendez got involved because Melgen’s dispute demonstrated how Medicare reimbursement policies were inconsistently applied.


Noon

Jurors in the bribery trial of Democratic New Jersey U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez are expected to hear testimony from Democratic former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin.

The prosecution contends Menendez set up a meeting between Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen and Harkin in 2011 to see if Harkin could help with Melgen’s Medicare billing dispute. Harkin chaired a Senate health committee at the time.

An administrator contracted by Medicare testified Wednesday that Menendez’s staffers urged her office not to seek $8.9 million from Melgen in the dispute because Medicare’s billing policies were contradictory.

Prosecutors allege Menendez took various actions on behalf of Melgen in exchange for gifts including flights on Melgen’s private jet and luxury hotel stays.

Defense lawyers deny any bribery agreement between the longtime friends.