Since taking office in 2023, freshman Rep. George Santos has quickly become one of the most infamous of the current crop of GOP politicians. On Friday, he pled not guilty to 23 charges, setting the stage for a trial in September.
A shady history
Rep. Santos, the first openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress, has a long history of dubious and criminal activity. After being elected to Congress in 2022, Brazilian authorities brought up an unresolved case in which Santos confessed to committing check fraud but never appeared in court. Santos agreed to plead guilty.
It’s his story
Santos’s election also prompted multiple major news outlets to examine his past. They found that he made up swathes of his past, including supposed charity work that he never did.
An example of Santos’s behavior
In January, Santos was accused of stealing money donated to a 2016 GoFundMe intended to fund a life-saving operation for a homeless Navy veteran’s dog. Santos allegedly took all $3,000 raised, leaving the dog to die months later.
Many more cases
Many additional accusations of similarly criminal and even sociopathic behavior have come to light in the year since Santos was elected. They range from reportedly lying about almost every aspect of his life and sexual misconduct to wire fraud.
The initial indictment
Santos, elected to Congress in 2022, was initially indicted by federal prosecutors in May on 13 criminal counts: Seven of wire fraud, three of money laundering, one of theft of public funds, and two of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
The new indictment
On Friday, Santos was served a superseding indictment. This indictment replaces the earlier one and contains 23 criminal counts.
The 23 criminal counts
Santos has now also been charged with “two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud,” according to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.
Deny, deny, deny
Rep. Santos pleaded not guilty to the earlier indictment and has done the same again. Additionally, he continues to refuse to resign and has even continued preparations for a reelection campaign.
The plot thickens
In October, George Santos’s former treasurer, Nancy Marks, pled guilty to a federal conspiracy charge. According to the charge, she falsely filed family members of herself and Santos as having lent the Santos campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars despite not having the money to do so.
The new charges facing Santos give some specific figures. Santos is alleged to have claimed to have acquired half a million dollars despite only having $8,000 at the time.
Pin it on the treasurer
When people started asking questions about where he sourced his campaign funds, Santos attempted to pin the blame on Marks. While Marks doesn’t have a cooperation agreement with the government right now, her attorney told ABC that “if they subpoena her, she’ll do the right thing.”
With Santos seemingly determined to fight, the stage is set for a trial. December 12 marks the date of the next status conference, and the trial has been set for September 9, 2024.
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