Santos was set to appear in federal court in Long Island on Tuesday for a status conference.
“The parties are presently engaged in plea negotiations with the goal of resolving this matter without the need for a trial,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert dated Monday.
He is facing a September 9, 2024 trial date for 23 separate felony counts, including wire fraud, identity theft, credit card theft, money laundering and falsely reporting to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he had loaned his campaign $500,000; in fact, he hadn’t given anything while maintaining less than $8,000 in the bank.
Santos has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
At Tuesday’s conference, prosecutors were expected to produce more evidence and ask for the trial date to be moved up from September to either May or June.
When he was asked by the local New York CBS affiliate on Sunday about a plea deal, Santos replied that it was “not off the table obviously at this point” but “we just don’t know that yet.”
Santos is facing up to 20 years in prison for each charge of wire fraud alone. If he’s found guilty of multiple counts, it would be up to a judge to decide whether he should serve his sentences concurrently or consecutively.
His legal challenges come after lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on December 1 to expel Santos following a scathing Ethics Committee report that accused him of having “blatantly stole from his campaign” and “deceived donors.”
In its 56-page report, the committee also said it uncovered additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct” on top of the criminal charges already pending against Santos, and that the committee would immediately refer these allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.