UPDATED: US Rep. George Santos pleaded not guilty Wednesday to several federal charges, including wire fraud and lying to the House of Representatives.
He was released on $500,000 bond and is due back in court June 30. Outside the courthouse in Central Islip, he called the investigation a “witch hunt.”
US Rep. George Santos was in custody Wednesday, indicted on mutliple federal charges of fraud and other counts related to his campaigns in 2020 and 2022.
Indictment documents against the Republican freshman list 13 counts that include seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of lying to the House of Representatives on federal disclosure forms.
He is expected to appear in US federal court in Central Islip later Wednesday for arraignment on the charges.
Santos has been under investigation for months, after The New York Times delved deeply into his stories about his upbringing, family, education, heritage, source of income and experiences. He “became both a scandal and a national punchline,” The Washington Post wrote, compiling a list of some of the lies Santos has told over the years.
Santos recently declared that planned to run for re-election.
Huntington was part of the Third District in 2020, with Santos running unsuccessfully against the incumbent, US Rep. Tom Suozzi. In 2022, Suozzi decided to run, for governor, and Santos beat Robert Zimmerman for the seat, which was redistricted and moved out of Suffolk County to cover parts of Nassau and Queens. He was living in Huntington for a while with his husband.
What effect the indictment will have on his standing in the House was unknown. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously said that Santos would remain in the House unless the case “rose to a legal level.”
Many local Republicans as well as Democrats have demanded that he resign.