Federal prosecutors accused Sen. Robert Menendez of using "sensational" and "histrionic" arguments in his defense against corruption charges, while themselves recounting unproven prostitution allegations Monday, adding more sharp-edged filings to a case already bristling with animosity.

"The defendants' careless use of the evidence and case law to support their attacks accomplishes little more than the continued erosion of their credibility," prosecutors wrote, responding to 15 motions last month by Menendez (D., N.J.) and codefendant Salomon Melgen, a South Florida eye doctor and a major political donor.

The filing from the Department of Justice attempts to rebut arguments from Menendez and Melgen that the bribery and conspiracy charges against the two should be dismissed due to prosecutors' misconduct and other flaws.

The response, filed in New Jersey District Court, also spends several pages recounting the most salacious aspects of the case: unconfirmed accusations that Melgen and Menendez frequented underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

The news stories detailing those accusations by one anonymous tipster were largely discredited, Menendez denied them, and they led to no charges, but prosecutors recounted the embarrassing details, and added some new information, in response to the defense's contention that the investigation began with a faulty foundation.

The filing notes that "some eyewitnesses described a party attended by defendant Melgen" and involving prostitutes at the Dominican Republic resort where the eye doctor has a home and that Menendez often visited.

A Melgen pilot also told investigators of "young girls" who look "like escorts" on the defendant's plane, the filings say.

"There was nothing improper about" examining the prostitution claims, prosecutors wrote, "despite the defendants' palpable regret that the investigation ultimately led to the discovery of their corrupt relationship."

Menendez spokeswoman Patricia Enright accused prosecutors of relying on "salacious and baseless allegations."

"While talk of prostitution may make for good headlines, it has absolutely nothing to do with this case," Enright wrote in an email.

Prosecutors in April charged Menendez and Melgen with less sensational crimes: saying Menendez had traded official favors - weighing in with federal officials to help his friend in a nearly $9 million Medicare billing fight, aiding the doctor as he sought visas for foreign girlfriends - in exchange for lavish vacations, free flights, campaign donations, and other gifts.

Menendez and Melgen in July filed to dismiss all or most of the charges. They accused prosecutors and investigators of misconduct, leaking information in violation of grand jury rules, presenting false and misleading testimony to the grand jury, intimidating witnesses, and charging Menendez for actions they say are protected by the Constitution..

"Despite the improper and suspect nature of the allegations that launched this investigation, throughout each of its stages, the prosecution has stopped at nothing to pursue its case against Sen. Menendez and Dr. Melgen," the defendants' attorneys wrote in July.

In a separate filing Monday, Menendez and Melgen's attorneys gave notice that they have subpoenaed documents from the Departments of Health and Human Services, State, Commerce, and Homeland Security, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Customs and Border Protection, and the CIA.

The case has been characterized by aggressively confrontational filings, starting with the defense's unsuccessful attempt to have the trial moved from New Jersey to Washington, and continuing Monday.

Even the length of those filings has become fodder for contention.

Prosecutors noted that their responses Monday totaled "less than 230 pages to the defendants' 343."

Oral arguments on the motions are scheduled for Sept. 17.