Santos appears in court for first time since not guilty plea

Santos appears in court for first time since not guilty plea
Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos. (Photo courtesy of the Santos campaign)

Embattled Rep. George Santos appeared in federal court Friday where prosecutors say they had delivered about 80,000 pages of documents to the defense earlier in the week, as reported by CNN.

For the first time since he pleaded not guilty last month to a 13-count federal indictment, Santos appeared in court where he was reported to have sat in silence for the duration of the hearing.

His federal indictment includes seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to Congress.

If convicted of the top charges, Santos could face up to 20 years in prison.

His next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 7, a week prior to Congress going back into session. The judge originally proposed Sept. 14 but Santos’s attorney, Joseph Murray, requested an earlier date in order for Santos to return to sessions.

Murray said Congress’ August recess would be a suitable time to review the plethora of documents handed from prosecutors. He told the judge the defense and prosecutors had a “good working relationship” when establishing the next court date, CNN reported.

Santos has admitted to lying about his education and work history, but he has not
addressed other inconsistencies and has equivocated when asked about his business dealings and how they related to his political efforts.

Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Santos of orchestrating a scheme to solicit political contributions that he used for personal expenses; of fraudulently receiving more than $24,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits while he was actually employed; and of knowingly making false statements on House financial disclosure forms.

Santos is also being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. Republican House members rejected a Democratic proposal to expel Santos from the House.

The 3rd District representative was arrested in May following the charges and released on a $500,000 bail bond that was co-signed by three individuals. Santos refused to release the names of the individuals, one of which repealed their sponsorship due to media coverage of the arrest.

A federal court ruling made by Federal Magistrate Judge Anne Shields determined that Santos had to reveal the names of the co-signers on his $500,000 bond.

Santos and his attorney Murray, whose law office is located in Great Neck, fought the ruling through a June 9 appeal.

The appeal letter from Murray stated that a “media frenzy” has ensued in the wake of 13 federal fraud charges granted filed on May 9 against Santos and his arrest the following day.

“​​These attacks have been extremely angry, anti-gay, anti-Republican and all around anti-social,” Murray states in the letter. “Moreover, even the government recognizes the unique and potentially dangerous/harassing environment that Defendant has been subjected to in that the government was so kind to offer assistance for Defendant entering the courthouse on May 10, 2023, by avoiding the mass of media that had appeared at the courthouse.”

Murray stated in the letter that releasing the names of the co-signers of his bail bond would subject them to the same harassment. He said due to the political climate, the threat of political violence, the co-signers’ ages and employment, their privacy interests are “more concerning.”

He said that if their names are released, it is “very likely” the co-signers, who we now know are Santos’ father and aunt, will withdraw as well land may subject Santos to pretrial detention and more onerous conditions.

After weeks of refusing to reveal the names and fighting federal court rulings, court documents unsealed Thursday reveal the co-signers to be his father and aunt.

Santos’ father Gercino dos Santos Jr. and his aunt Elma Preven signed a $500,000 unsecured bond that bailed the representative out of jail after his arrest for 13 federal charges.

As the bond is unsecured, Santos’ father and aunt did not have to put down any cash or property to bail out the representative.

The two family members are responsible for Santos to appear in court and follow the terms of his release. If he does not, they would then be responsible for paying the $500,000 bond.

Under his bond agreement, Santos, who is running for re-election, may travel between New York and Washington, D.C., but must obtain advance permission for other trips.

Previous article nuBest celebrates 50 years
Next article North Shore beaches get grades from A- to C
Cameryn Oakes is Blank Slate Media's Brooklyn-based reporter who covers the Great Neck, Manhasset and Port Washington areas. She hails from Sacramento, California and previously reported at The Stockton Record as a summer intern. Cameryn graduated from California Polytechnic State University with two bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science. She served as the managing editor of her university's student newspaper, The Mustang News, which was named as the best college newspaper in California under her supervision.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here