Republican congressman George Santos is facing a litany of felony charges, but despite the legal troubles, he insists that he will not resign from his position. Santos, who made history in 2022 as the first openly gay Republican to be elected to the House, was federally indicted on Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York on 10 counts, bringing the total number of felony charges against him to 23.
The charges against Santos include identity theft, embezzlement, and wire fraud. Prosecutors allege that he stole campaign donors’ identities and used their credit cards to make fraudulent charges, often exceeding the legal limits for individual donations. Additionally, he is accused of embezzling funds from his own company and conspiring with his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, to falsify donation totals. This was done in order to qualify for substantial financial support from the Republican Party and give the appearance of a more financially stable campaign.
Evidence presented in the indictment includes messages between Santos and Marks discussing plans to secure more funds by inflating their fundraising totals. Marks, who resigned from Santos’ team earlier this year, has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US. She admitted to filing reports that falsely claimed non-existent donors, including members of both her and Santos’ families, had contributed $500,000 to the campaign.
Despite the mounting charges against him, Santos remains defiant and determined to fight the allegations. When asked about the possibility of resigning, he told reporters that he believes in due process and intends to defend himself “until the bitter end.”
This latest indictment is not the first time Santos has faced legal trouble. In May, he was hit with 13 federal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements to the House. Prosecutors alleged that Santos had set up a fraudulent company to solicit campaign contributions, which he then used for personal expenses, including luxury clothing. He was also accused of defrauding the state’s Covid-19 unemployment scheme by applying for and receiving benefits while employed with a high-paying job.
Santos pleaded not guilty to the previous charges and expressed his determination to continue serving in Congress. Despite calls from members of his own party to step down, he affirmed his intention to run for re-election in 2024.
Throughout his time in Congress, Santos has faced scrutiny for fabricating aspects of his personal and political background. From his professional history to his religious heritage and criminal record, it has been revealed that Santos exaggerated or invented details. He has admitted to embellishing his past but maintains his innocence in the face of the current charges.
As the legal proceedings against Santos continue, the Republican congressman remains resolute in his refusal to resign from his position. The coming months will shed further light on the allegations against him and determine his fate in Congress.