Prosecutors ask judge to deny George Santos' bid to have some fraud charges dropped

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to reject former U.S. Rep. George Santos’ bid to have some of the fraud charges against him dropped as his trial approaches

Philip Marcelo
Monday 03 June 2024 19:46 BST
George Santos Fraud Charges
George Santos Fraud Charges (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to reject former U.S. Rep. George Santos ’ bid to have some of the fraud charges against him dropped as his trial approaches.

The New York Republican, who last year became only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives, has requested that a judge dismiss three of the 23 charges against him.

Santos faces a slew of criminal charges, including allegations that he defrauded campaign donors, lied to Congress about his wealth, received unemployment benefits while employed, and used campaign contributions to pay for personal expenses like designer clothing. He pleaded not guilty to a revised indictment in October.

But in court filings last month, Santos’ lawyers argued that the aggravated identity theft charges should be dropped because he has not been accused of obtaining credit card information from donors unlawfully, but simply for overcharging them.

“All of the credit cards were voluntarily sent to Santos’ campaign and his campaign was authorized to charge the cards for a specified amount,” defense lawyers wrote in their motion to dismiss the charges.

Prosecutors, in legal filings on Friday, dismissed Santos’ request as “meritless.”

They said they'll show at trial how he used the identities of his donors to fraudulently and deceptively evade federal campaign finance laws.

“Santos did not merely ‘use’ credit card information that he properly possessed; he abused it, with specific intent to defraud, to increase the amount of money he had appeared to raise as a candidate for the House,” prosecutors argued in their lengthy filing. “Nor did he merely ‘use’ names in entering fraudulent charges on his victims’ credit cards; he misused them deceitfully, with specific intent to mask, conceal, and prolong his unlawful activities.”

Lawyers for Santos didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Monday. He is slated to go on trial in September and isn’t due back in federal court on Long Island until August.

In April, he dropped his longshot bid to return to Congress as an independent in the 1st Congressional District on Long Island.

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