Santos fights order to reveal co-signers of $500K bail

Santos fights order to reveal co-signers of $500K bail
U.S. Rep. George Santos. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Rep. George Santos’ attorney has filed an appeal on a federal court ruling that calls for him to reveal the identities of the three co-signers of his $500,000 bail bond.

Santos says the co-signers are family members, according to the appeal letter published by CBS News.

Santos was required to submit an appeal to Federal Magistrate Judge Anne Shields’ ruling before noon Friday, which was submitted by his attorney Joseph Murray.

The letter from Murray states that a “media frenzy” has ensued in the wake of 13 federal fraud charges granted filed 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 states 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.”

Murray said that there were originally three co-signers of Santos’ bail bond, but one withdrew due to the media coverage of the arrest.

He said that if their names are released, it is “very likely” the other two will withdraw and may subject Santos to pretrial detention and more onerous conditions.

Santos pleaded not guilty last month to a 13-count federal indictment, including 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.

The 3rd District representative was arrested following the charges and released on a $500,000 bail bond that was co-signed by three individuals Santos claims are family members, according to the letter.

News outlets, such as the AP and The New York Times, have requested for the names of the co-signers to be released for transparency in the representative’s affairs.

Murray states in the letter that Santos has “publicly revealed that the co-signers are family members and not lobbyists, donors or others seeking to exert influence over the Defendant.”

Concerned Citizens of NY-03, a nonpartisan organization of residents from the 3rd Congressional District who advocate for the expulsion of Santos from the House, released a statement saying that there is a great public interest in knowing the co-signers of his bail due to his “history of leveraging his campaign for personal financial gain.”

“Santos is the ultimate grifter – he does the steal and then asks for special treatment,” Concerned Citizens of NY-03 state. “This is yet another example of George Santos abusing our system.”

Santos’ next court appearance is scheduled for June 30, but a ruling from the judge regarding the unsealing of the bail bond co-signers’ names could be made at any time.

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

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