Santos is expected to appear as soon as Wednesday at federal court in New York’s eastern district, where the charges have been filed under seal…reports Asian Lite News
Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against New York Rep. George Santos, the Republican lawmaker whose astonishing pattern of lies and fabrications stunned even hardened politicos, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Santos is expected to appear as soon as Wednesday at federal court in New York’s eastern district, where the charges have been filed under seal.
The exact nature of the charges couldn’t immediately be learned but the FBI and the Justice Department public integrity prosecutors in New York and Washington have been examining allegations of false statements in Santos’ campaign finance filings and other claims.
The congressman’s attorney declined to comment. Spokespeople for the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment.
Santos was en route back to New York Tuesday night, skipping House votes for the evening, according to a source familiar.
A spokeswoman for Santos, Naysa Woomer, would not respond to shouted questions from reporters Tuesday afternoon and abruptly departed the congressman’s DC office with her backpack when asked about the federal charges against him. Prior to her departure from the office, CNN witnessed three staffers for Santos abruptly depart with their bags. They wouldn’t talk when pressed for comment.
The freshman congressman, who was elected last year to represent a district that includes parts of Long Island and Queens, has been under investigation in multiple jurisdictions and by the House Ethics Committee.
Top Democrats, joined by some New York Republicans, have been calling on Santos to resign over allegations ranging from criminal behavior on the campaign trail to petty personal dishonesty stretching back more than a decade.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he will look at the charges before determining if he thinks Santos should be removed from Congress.
Santos was spotted in the Capitol earlier in the day on his way in and out of McCarthy’s office. The speaker said he did not know why Santos had been there, and that the congressman had not told him personally about the charges.
During his brief time in office, Santos has been accused of breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws, stealing cash meant for an Iraq War veteran’s dying dog, masterminding a credit card fraud scheme and lying about where he went to school and worked.
Santos has admitted to making some misleading claims about his education and financial status, but continues to deny the more serious allegations.
During his victorious campaign last year, Santos ran according to the Republican midterm playbook, hammering his Democratic opponent over crime and inflation. The message resonated in the New York suburbs, where GOP candidates flipped four seats on their way to winning a narrow House majority.
But as Santos’ past came under closer scrutiny, with large chunks of his official biography revealed to be conjured from nothing, he increasingly adapted the persona of a right-wing troll.
He played up his support for former President Donald Trump and once claimed that Democrats were “trying to ban toilet paper.”
New York Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Santos, insisting they knew nothing about his shadowy past and some repeatedly urging him to leave office.
“I reiterate my call for George Santos to step down,” New York Rep. Mike Lawler said in a statement. Lawler flipped a Democratic-held seat north of New York City last year and is expected to face a serious challenge in 2024.
Republicans from more conservative districts were less explicit.
New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis told CNN, “I’m not surprised. I understand this is where it was headed,” but stopped short of asking Santos to resign. I would love to see someone new run because I can tell you that we will hold that seat and so the sooner Santos leaves, the sooner we can get someone in there that is not a liar,” the Staten Island Republican said.