George Santos returns to federal court for status conference in fraud, money laundering case

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Fmr. Congressman George Santos back in court in Suffolk County
Chantee Lans reports.

CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- Ex-Rep. George Santos returned to federal court in Central Islip Tuesday for a status conference in his fraud and money laundering case.

The disgraced New York Republican, who became only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives last year, made the comments Tuesday following a brief hearing in federal court on Long Island ahead of his criminal fraud trial, which is slated for later this year.

The former congressman said he's not voting for his successor in the NY-3 special election on Feb. 13, while taking a shot at Republican Mazi Pilip

"I don't vote for democrats," he bluntly told reporters following the brief appearance in federal court.

The race pits Pilip, a relatively unknown Republican county lawmaker, against Democratic former congressman Thomas Suozzi, who previously represented the district for six years during a lengthy career in Long Island politics.

Santos also revealed he misses his former job in Congress.

"I miss Capitol Hill, I worked really hard to get there"

RELATED | Special election to be held after Rep. George Santos expelled from Congress

When he was asked if he was still making Cameo videos for hundreds of dollars each, Santos said he is, but did not say what else he is now doing for a living.

Santos was joined by two new lawyers, Andrew Leopoldo Mancilla and Robert Mario Fantone Jr., now working with his original attorney, Joseph Murray.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to a 23-count superseding indictment charging him with a variety of fraud and money laundering schemes.

Prosecutors had previously said Santos is engaged in plea talks, but there were no developments in court on Tuesday.

Federal Judge Joanna Seybert said Murray told her he is making great progress getting the case prepared for trial, which is still set for September

Santos is due back in court in August. Prosecutors said there was no need for another status conference until just before the start of trial so there is time "for the parties to pursue plea negotiations."

Santos was elected in 2022 after campaigning as a self-made Wall Street whiz, but his life story unraveled soon after his election win, when it was revealed that he had lied about where he worked and went to college as well as big chunks of his personal background. He was ousted from his seat following a scathing House Ethics Committee report that said it found "overwhelming evidence" that he had broken the law and exploited his public position for his own profit.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

RELATED | George Santos: The Man, the Myths, the Lessons | Full Special

"George Santos: The Man, The Myths, The Lessons," an ABC7 New York Eyewitness News investigation, explores the rise of the politician whose path to Congress was paved with lies.


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