George Santos Makes First Court Appearance Since Arraignment

June 30, 2023

Embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) appeared in federal court in Central Islip, New York on Friday, for what his attorneys called a “basic status conference.”

It was Santos’ first court appearance since he pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal counts at the federal court in New York’s Eastern District on May 10.

Charges against him 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. Wire fraud is the most serious count as it carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. If Santos is found guilty of multiple counts, it would be up to a judge to decide whether he should serve his sentences concurrently or consecutively.

Friday’s court appearance came just over a week after Judge Joanna Seybert revealed the identities of the two people who paid Santos’ $500,000 bond: his father, Gercino Dos Santos Jr., and his aunt, Elma Santos Preven.

That revelation came despite Santos’ attorney Joe Murray insisting that his client would rather go to jail than allow their identities to be revealed and risk their suffering repercussions such as loss of employment or “God forbid…physical injury.”

Santos did not speak during Friday’s hearing. Murray praised his team’s “working relationship” with the government so far, and requested that the next hearing occur in September, so that they could use the Congressional recess in August to review documents. 

Santos’ next court date was thus scheduled for September 7, before Congress returns from its summer break. 

The freshman lawmaker is simultaneously under investigation by Congress. The House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into his alleged misconduct in March.

A special legislative subcommittee is looking into “whether Representative George Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”

Santos filed for reelection in 2024 on March 14.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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