A court document revealed on Monday that former U.S. Representative George Santos, who was booted from Congress earlier this month after an 11-month stint beset by controversy, is now involved in plea negotiations with U.S. prosecutors about corruption accusations.
The news broke only one day before Santos’ status hearing in Long Island court. After being ousted from Congress in a largely nonpartisan vote, the New York Republican was the subject of conjecture for days about whether he would accept a plea offer.
The members of the United States House of Representatives voted on December 1 to remove Santos from office due to allegations of fraud and a damning report by the House Ethics Committee that he had used campaign cash to pay for spa services and other luxuries.
Two people thought to have ties to the ex-congressman have accepted plea agreements. One count of wire fraud and the stipulation of access device fraud was committed most recently by ex-Santos fundraiser Samuel Miele.
Nancy Marks, who had previously served as treasurer for Santos’s campaign, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The prosecution said that Marks inflated Santos’s campaign finance filings to imply that he borrowed half a million dollars from family members.
Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, said that his client had reviewed the letter with prosecutors and approved its wording, but he would not elaborate.
As stated in the document, the prosecution “respectfully renews” its demand for a trial in May or June. The trial was initially scheduled for September 9th by the judge presiding over the case.
A 23-count superseding indictment was filed against Santos in the Eastern District of New York in October. The allegations included a laundry list of violations, such as conspiracy to conduct offenses against the U.S., wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.
On every count, he entered a not-guilty plea.
Wire fraud, money laundering, and public funds theft were among the thirteen counts against Santos in a May federal indictment. He pled not guilty to all counts and was freed on a $500,000 bail.
Santos became the first House member to be expelled in almost 20 years this month after the House decided to remove him in response to a harsh ethics report.