New York congressman George Santos arrested on criminal charges

Republican US congressman George Santos has been arrested in New York on prices of fraud, cash laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to the Home of Representatives, authorities stated.

The 34-year-old appeared in a court docket on New York’s Lengthy Island on Wednesday afternoon the place he pleaded not responsible to a 13-count indictment. He’s accused of misappropriating tens of hundreds of {dollars} in political donations and mendacity about his true revenue as soon as elected.

Santos was elected in final November’s midterm congressional elections. His victory flipped a Lengthy Island district beforehand held by a Democrat, serving to Republicans to regain management of the Home. However he has since confronted a collection of scandals after he was discovered to have lied about his training, employment historical past, ethnicity and household background.

Breon Peace, US legal professional for the japanese district of New York, stated in an announcement: “He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully utilized for unemployment advantages that ought to have gone to New Yorkers who had misplaced their jobs as a result of pandemic, and lied to the Home of Representatives.”

The indictment is a blow to Home Republicans who’ve grow to be more and more embarrassed by Santos’s presence inside their ranks however can’t afford to lose him given their slim majority within the decrease chamber of Congress.

A number of Republicans from the average New York suburbs have referred to as for him to step down, and others within the area have chimed in. “The earlier he leaves, the earlier we are able to win the seat with somebody who isn’t a liar,” Nicole Malliotakis, a New York Metropolis Republican lawmaker, informed Axios this week.

Kevin McCarthy, the Home Speaker, has not gone that far and will solely achieve this if Santos is convicted. Santos stepped down earlier this 12 months from the congressional committees he was assigned to due to the stress on him.

Chatting with reporters on Thursday, Steve Scalise, the Home majority chief, signalled that Republicans within the decrease chamber weren’t going to maneuver shortly to oust Santos. “There’s a authorized course of, the fees simply got here out, we simply noticed a few of them this morning,” Scalise stated. “In America, there’s a presumption of innocence, however these are critical prices.”

“The celebration of George Santos and Marjorie Taylor Greene can’t be trusted to control. Not now. Not ever,” Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic chief within the Home, stated in a tweet, lumping within the indicted New York congressman with the pro-Trump firebrand Georgia lawmaker identified for embracing conspiracy theories.

Mitt Romney, a Republican senator from Utah who has clashed with Santos up to now, stated on Wednesday: “He has demonstrated by his untruthfulness that he shouldn’t be in the USA Congress — maybe mustn’t even be on the general public streets.”

Within the 20-page indictment unsealed on Wednesday, federal prosecutors alleged Santos used $50,000 in marketing campaign donations from two individuals, who have been informed the cash can be partly used for marketing campaign commercials, to purchase designer clothes and pay his private money owed in addition to funnel funds to his associates.

Additionally they alleged Santos repeatedly filed for unemployment insurance coverage in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, receiving a complete of greater than $24,000 regardless of making $120,000 a 12 months as an worker of a Florida funding fund.

As soon as elected, Santos vastly overstated his revenue and his belongings to the Home, the indictment alleged, making him out to be a multimillionaire.

If discovered responsible on all prices, Santos may spend the remainder of his life in jail. A lawyer for Santos didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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