Santos Pleads Not Guilty to New Fraud Charges

As his GOP colleagues from New York try to expel him from Congress
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2023 1:10 PM CDT
Santos Pleads Not Guilty to New Fraud Charges
A file photo of Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Rep. George Santos pleaded not guilty Friday to revised charges accusing him of several frauds, including making tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to some of his campaign donors. The New York Republican appeared at a Long Island courthouse, where a lawyer entered the plea on his behalf, per the AP. Santos previously pleaded not guilty to other charges, first filed in May, accusing him of lying to Congress about his wealth, receiving unemployment benefits he didn't deserve, and using campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing.

The court appearance came the morning after some of Santos' Republican colleagues from New York launched an effort to expel him from Congress. Santos didn't speak to reporters as he left the courthouse, but smiled and waved at a small group of protesters shouting insults from across the street. A judge tentatively scheduled a trial for September, which would come after the state's congressional primary. US District Judge Joanna Seybert turned down a request by prosecutors to have the trial as soon as May. Santos is free on bail while he awaits trial. He has denied any serious wrongdoing and blamed irregularities in his government regulatory filings on his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, who he claims "went rogue."

Marks in turn has implicated Santos. She told a judge when she recently pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge that she had helped Santos trick Republican party officials into supporting his run for office in 2022 through bogus Federal Election Committee filings that made him look richer than he really was, partly by listing an imaginary $500,000 loan that had supposedly come from his personal wealth. During his successful 2022 run for office, Santos was buoyed by an uplifting life story that was later revealed to be rife with fabrications. Among other things, he never worked for the major Wall Street investment firms where he claimed to have been employed, didn't go to the college where he claimed to have been a star volleyball player, and misled people about having Jewish heritage.

(More George Santos stories.)

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