Rep. George Santos on Friday appealed a federal magistrate’s decision to order the release of the names of those who helped release him from federal custody on bail, suggesting the persons were family members.
The identity of Santos’ guarantor has been the subject of intense interest in both the press and the House Ethics Committee, which last month questioned whether the $500,000 bail bond violated the House’s ethics code. We asked Mr. Santos to release his name so we could assess whether. gift.
In a filing with the Eastern District of New York on Friday, Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, argued that Santos did not violate any ethics rules, citing exceptions for family members and guarantors. Then he hinted. Mr Santos said he would face attacks and harassment if he made his name public.
“Defendants have substantially made it public that the surety is a family member and not a lobbyist, donor or other person seeking to influence Defendants,” Murray wrote in the complaint. . The motion was filed days after Judge Ann Y. Shields ordered the names to be made public. not sealed.
It remains to be seen how his appeal against Judge Joanna Seibert will be received.
Santos, a Republican representing parts of Long Island and Queens, faces 13 felony counts, including money laundering and wire fraud. he pleaded not guilty.
A group of news outlets, including The New York Times, last month asked for the identity of the person who secured Mr. Santos’ bail. The coalition argued that the names of these individuals were a matter of public interest, especially given Santos’ position in Congress and the potential for his bail arrangements to represent an inappropriate political gift.
In a motion filed Monday, Murray shared a written response to an Ethics Committee question about bail, pointing in it to the House Ethics Code allowing gifts from family members. It was not clear at the time whether he was referring to some of the guarantors or all of them. In Friday’s motion, he made it clearer.
Murray does not oppose targeted desealing, which would confirm to the public and House investigators that Mr. Santos’ guarantors are family members, but not their names or their exact ties to Mr. Santos. said he would not disclose.
The guarantors didn’t hand over the actual money, but Santos could be targeted for $500,000 if he escaped prosecution. And while the Ethics Committee has not issued specific guidance on bail bonds, the arrangement could run counter to the House gift rule if the guarantor is not a next of kin, spouse, relative or in-law. Experts suggest.
Santos, 34, has a younger sister, Tiffany Santos, who lives in New York and has supported his brother’s political career. Despite tens of thousands of dollars in arrears, Santos donated thousands of dollars to her brother’s campaign, and she made headlines herself. Santos also served as chairman of a New York state PAC called Rise NY, promoted by Santos, but the handling of the money raised questions.
His father, Guercino dos Santos Jr., also lives in New York. Regarding his son’s congressional campaign contributions, he lists his occupation as a painter, a builder, or a retiree.
Santos’ mother Fatima Devolder died in 2016 after a battle with cancer. Ms. Debolder is a prominent figure in her son’s campaign biography, and many of the past allegations about her, including her connection to the 9/11 attacks, have received significant attention.
Santos also said in a 2020 interview that she has a husband, who identified herself as Matheus Gerardo, and that the two were married on Long Island in November 2021.
Murray said in the motion that one of Santos’ original three guarantors had already resigned amid intense media interest, and that the other two would be at risk of losing their identities if made public. said again. If that happens, Santos “could be subject to stricter release conditions or be subject to pretrial detention,” he argued.