FILE- In this April 28, 2017 file photo, Dr. Salomon Melgen arrives at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, Fla. Prosecutors say Melgen, a prominent Florida eye doctor who was accused of bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, should get a 30-year sentence for Medicare fraud. A three-day sentencing hearing for Melgen is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in West Palm Beach on 67 counts. Prosecutors say the 63-year-old doctor stole more than $100 million from the federal government. He was convicted in April after a 2 1/2- month trial.(Lannis Water/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

The Latest: Sentencing begins for doc tied to US Senator

December 05, 2017 - 11:31 am

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing hearing for a prominent Florida eye doctor accused of bribing U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Attorneys for a prominent Florida eye doctor convicted of Medicare fraud called numerous patients and former employees to speak about his character in hopes of getting a reduced sentence.

They told U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra on Tuesday that Dr. Salomon Melgen is a caring physician who often treated patients for free. 

Melgen is facing a possible life sentence after being convicted of stealing more than $100 million from the federal government. Separately, he is charged with bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. 

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year sentence. Melgen's attorneys want a sentence of less than 10 years. 

5:02 a.m.

Attorneys for a prominent Florida eye doctor who became the nation's highest paid Medicare provider say he should get 10 years or less for fraud. Prosecutors say Dr. Saloman Melgen deserves 30 years, arguing that he stole more than $100 million from federal taxpayers.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra could put the 63-year-old doctor in prison for life.

The sentencing of Melgen is scheduled to begin Tuesday in West Palm Beach and could take three days. He was convicted on 67 counts in April.

Melgen also remains accused of bribing Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. A federal jury in New Jersey failed to reach a verdict against the two men, and prosecutors haven't said whether they'll retry that case.

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