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Posted: February 4, 2013 4:56 p.m.

Dominican lawyer dismisses prostitution reports

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A lawyer in the Dominican Republic is dismissing allegations that he and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez attended parties with under-aged prostitutes.

Attorney Vinicio Castillo Seman says allegations published in the U.S. media and on the Internet are a smear campaign to scuttle a port security contract sought by a company controlled by a U.S. doctor of Dominican descent, Salomon Melgen.

Melgen's Florida offices were recently searched by federal agents. His attorney says he's done nothing wrong.

An anonymous tipster has circulated emails accusing Menendez of having sex with prostitutes, including at least one under 18, in 2009 and 2010. Some encounters allegedly occurred on Castillo's yacht. No proof has been provided and the senator denies the allegations.

Castillo said Monday the allegations are "absurd."

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