Attorneys for Rep. George Santos on Monday filed court documents pleading with a federal judge not to reveal who paid the embattled Congress member’s $500,000 bond last month.
In the filing, Santos’ lawyers assert that his cosigners want to keep their identities sealed because they “are likely to suffer great distress, may lose their jobs and, God forbid, may suffer physical injury.”
“My client would rather surrender to pretrial detainment than subject these suretors to what will inevitably come,” adds attorney Joseph W. Murray at the conclusion of the document.
Federal judge Anne Y. Shields in Central Islip, New York gave Santos until 5pm ET Monday to respond to the court motions by media outlets that have asked the judge to unseal records that would identify the three people who paid his half million-dollar bond.
She had released Santos on the bond on May 10 after he pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal counts at federal court in New York’s Eastern District.
The 13 charges include 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 the House of Representatives.
Earlier court filings said three people helped Santos secure the bond, but their identities have remained under seal. Shields had ordered Santos to respond to the unsealing requests last week, but his attorneys requested and were given a delay to do so until Monday—with Shields specifying that she would not entertain any “further suspensions of time” for Santos to respond.
Citing the First Amendment as well as common law right to access information, a consortium of media organizations had filed their motion to unseal the records last month.
“The public’s interest in this matter cannot be overstated,” the motion said. “A United States Congressman stands accused of perpetuating financial fraud in connection with his election to the House of Representatives.”
Santos’ bond is unsecured, meaning that his cosigners didn’t have to post any money up front. However, they could be forced to pay the full amount if he doesn’t comply with his release conditions or fails to show up for court.
Prosecutors have not taken a position on the media’s request to unseal the bond cosigners’ names.
If he’s convicted, Santos—who filed for reelection in 2024 on March 14— faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charges alone.