Rep. George Santos set to appear federal court on fraud and money laundering charges

U.S. Rep. George Santos is set to return to court Friday for the primary time since pleading not responsible final month to charges that he duped donors, stole from his marketing campaign, collected fraudulent unemployment advantages and lied to Congress about being a millionaire.

The New York Republican, recognized for fabricating key components of his life story, is free awaiting trial. He’s scheduled to go earlier than U.S. District Decide Joanna Seybert in a Lengthy Island courthouse at midday. The listening to is predicted to focus on the timing of future court dates because the case in opposition to the Republican congressman strikes ahead.

Federal prosecutors have charged Santos with 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress. He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted.

Taken collectively, the allegations recommend Santos relied on “repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” in accordance to U.S. Legal professional for the Jap District of New York Breon Peace.

Santos has condemned the federal investigation as a “witch hunt,” vowing to not solely stay in Congress however to search reelection. Republican leaders have urged Santos not to run once more however have deferred efforts to expel the freshman consultant that might slim their slim majority.

Federal prosecutors say Santos misused funds that he raised for his marketing campaign on private bills, together with designer garments and bank cards.

He’s additionally accused of mendacity about his funds on congressional disclosure kinds and acquiring unemployment advantages whereas making $120,000 as regional director of an funding agency, which was later shut down over allegations that it was a Ponzi scheme.

As a part of his bond settlement, Santos should notify the court if he plans to journey exterior of New York or Washington, D.C. He mentioned he acquired permission to accomplish that this week earlier than flying to El Paso, Texas, the place he referred to as for elevated border safety and dismissed questions in regards to the federal investigation.

“I might need my fair proportion of embroilments that the media appears to like,” he mentioned. “That is honest, however I ran to get stuff executed.”

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