CENTRAL ISLIP, New York (WABC) — U.S. Rep. George Santos was arraigned on a revised indictment accusing him of several frauds, including making tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on credit cards belonging to his campaign donors.
The New York Republican pleaded not guilty Friday at a courthouse on Long Island. He has already pleaded not guilty to other charges, first filed in May.
A trial date was set for Sept. 9, 2024 and the prosecution asked for a speedy trial, citing public interest. It could last a minimum of three weeks.
Prosecutors accuse Santos of stealing people’s identities, making purchases on the credit cards of his donors and lying to the House of Representatives.
The court appearance comes the morning after some of Santos’ Republican colleagues from New York launched an effort to expel him from Congress. Santos has continued to represent his New York district in Congress since he was charged, rejecting calls for his resignation from several fellow New York Republicans.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, of New York, introduced a resolution on Thursday evening to expel Santos from Congress. He was joined by four other New York Republicans, U.S. Reps. Nick LaLota, Michael Lawler, Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams.
D’Esposito said Santos is not “fit to serve his constituents as a United States representative.”
He introduced the resolution as privileged, which means the House must consider it within two legislative days. The House could vote on the resolution as early as next week.
Santos responded to the resolution on social media, writing that he is “entitled to due process and not a predetermined outcome as some are seeking.” He added that he will not resign.
Santos was initially arrested in May on a 13-count federal indictment, which charged him with using funds earmarked for campaign expenses on designer clothes and other personal expenses and improperly obtaining unemployment benefits meant for Americans who lost work because of the pandemic.
The new indictment accused Santos of charging more than $44,000 to his campaign over a period of months using cards belonging to contributors without their knowledge. In one case, he charged $12,000 to a contributor’s credit card and transferred the “vast majority” of that money into his personal bank account, prosecutors said.
Santos is also accused of falsely reporting to the Federal Elections Commission that he had loaned his campaign $500,000 when he actually hadn’t given anything and had less than $8,000 in the bank. The fake loan was an attempt to convince Republican Party officials that he was a serious candidate, worth their financial support, the indictment said.
He has previously said he intends to run for reelection next year, though he could face a lengthy prison term if convicted.
Some information from ABC News and The Associated Press
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