A former State Department official has testified that he didn't interpret remarks by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez about a Dominican Republic port security contract held by his co-defendant as a threat.
William Brownfield testified Monday at Menendez's bribery trial about interactions he had with Menendez that are raised in an indictment against the New Jersey Democrat. The port security contract involved a company owned by Salomon Melgen.
Brownfield said he didn't feel Menendez was threatening him when they discussed the contract.
Melgen's company was in a long-running dispute with the Dominican government over the contract.
Prosecutors say Menendez lobbied Brownfield and other government officials on behalf of Melgen in exchange for bribes, including flights on Melgen's private jet and luxury hotel stays.
Both men deny a bribery agreement.