Indicted Republican Congress Member George Santos may be negotiating a plea deal amid his ongoing legal troubles, as prosecutors have sought to delay an upcoming court hearing to discuss “possible paths forward in this matter.”
The notorious pol, who has been caught in numerous and wide-ranging lies about his past and continues to support fellow Republican and four-time indicted former President Donald Trump, is facing charges on a 13-count indictment alleging that he misled campaign donors, lied on his financial disclosure forms, and received unemployment benefits he was not entitled to.
The first-term congress member, who represents Queens and Long Island, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Santos and prosecutors with the Eastern District of New York were set to be back in court on Thursday, Sept. 7, for a status conference, but the government lawyers on Tuesday wrote to Judge Joanna Seybert asking to delay that until Oct. 27 — as they’ve been talking with Santos’ legal team, and “the parties wish to have additional time to continue those discussions.”
Such a move is typical when prosecutors and defendants are engaged in serious talks about a plea deal.
The congress member did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though he told Talking Points Memo that he was not working on a plea deal, and reports to the contrary were “wildly inaccurate.”
It is possible that the delay is, in fact, not related to a possible settlement, as prosecutors say they’ve given Santos’ legal team “voluminous” discovery material in the case, and “defense counsel has indicated that he will need additional time to review that material.”
Still, the move, along with the announcement that both sides are engaged in talks about “paths forward” in the indictment, suggests that there may be new developments on the horizon.
For his part, Santos offered a cryptic message on X (formerly known as Twitter), defining the word “speculation.”
Word of the day: Speculation
The forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.
— George Santos (@MrSantosNY) September 5, 2023
When asked last month about a potential plea deal, Santos was non-committal, saying “you never know.”
“I’m not making any assertions right now. Like I said earlier, right now, the answer is no. But you just never know,” he said in an interview with NewsNation. “You don’t know what life’s gonna come at you, you know.”
Santos is accused of using campaign donations to fund personal expenditures, such as buying designer clothes and paying off personal debts, while also fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits stemming from federal programs launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is also accused of fabricating much of his résumé — including his assertions that he graduated from Baruch College, had family that fled the Holocaust, and previously worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.
Amid the controversy surrounding the embattled congress member, which includes galling fabrications about his past, in addition to his legal troubles, Santos voluntarily stepped down from his Congressional committee assignments.