Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) pleaded not guilty to federal charges of fraudulently inflating his campaign finance reports and charging his donors’ credit cards without authorization. Santos appeared in court in Central Islip, N.Y., on Friday for his arraignment on the 10 additional charges prosecutors earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert set the trial to begin on September 9, 2024, according to court filings.
Santos’s plea comes as political and legal pressure grows on him, including a new effort from a group of fellow New York Republicans to have him expelled from the House. Santos has been the subject of controversy since he admitted to embellishing parts of his background while campaigning. In May, he faced 13 charges over accusations of misleading donors, fraudulently receiving unemployment benefits, and lying on his House financial disclosures. Santos pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.
Two former Santos campaign staffers have since been charged. Santos’s former campaign treasurer took a plea deal, while the congressman’s former fundraiser remains in negotiations with prosecutors, court filings show.
During the arraignment, the judge also held a hearing about a potential conflict of interest involving Joe Murray, Santos’s attorney. After being advised of the potential conflict, Santos waived it, enabling Murray to continue representing him, court filings show.
The New York Republicans are now moving to force a vote on a resolution to oust Santos from office. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) called the measure to the floor as a privileged resolution, which forces leadership to schedule a vote on the legislation within two legislative days. This will be the second time in roughly five months that the House will act on a resolution to expel Santos.
Despite his legal challenges, Santos is running for reelection in 2024.