Court documents signal possible plea deal negotiations in Rep. Santos federal case

A judge granted the continuance request and Rep. George Santos is due back in court on Oct. 27.

Jon Dowding

Sep 6, 2023, 2:34 AM

Updated 254 days ago

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Attorneys for Rep. George Santos could be in possible plea deal discussions with federal prosecutors, according to federal court documents released Tuesday.
Prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York filed a letter asking for a status conference continuance.
Santos pleaded not guilty in May to a 13-count federal indictment, which included counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to the House of Representatives.
Prosecutors say in the letter that the request to postpone the conference, originally scheduled for Sept. 7, would allow for them to make "another substantial production of discoverable material this week." The continuance of the conference would also allow Santos's attorneys time to review the materials.
Prosecutors went on to say, "The parties have continued to discuss possible paths forward in this matter."
Touro Law School professor Richard Klein says the letter signals one new development.
"I think what this means is plea discussions, plea discussions, plea discussions," he says. "If there is new additional evidence as the prosecutor has stated, it makes it all the more likely that Santos is just going to say, ''Boy, I gotta get out of this.'"
The congressman alluded to the latest court filing in a post on X, the app formerly known as Twitter, where he said the word of the day is speculation.
Klein says the charges faced by one of Santos's former fundraisers, however, could have also sparked possible plea deal negotiations.
"It might be that the fundraiser is ready, willing, and able to save himself by turning against Santos," says Klein. "And that might not have been clear until just now."
Members of community groups like Concerned Citizens of NY-03 say even if Santos takes a plea deal, he needs to be held accountable.
"I want to see momentum. I just feel like we move a step, or five steps forward and we take three steps back. I want to see action and I want him gone from office," says Susan Naftol, of Concerned Citizens of NY-03.
Other members say it's important to keep in mind that Santos's constituents are the victims of this.
"We've been the victims here and I think that's something that needs to be taken into account, what the wishes are of constituents here," said Emily Raphael. "This is not a victimless set of crimes here."
Klein also says there's a possibility that more charges could be brought following the new evidence prosecutors say they'll present this week. He goes on to say that even if Santos were to take a plea deal, he couldn't be forced to resign. Klein says Santos could face a lesser punishment, however, if he were to resign.
A judge granted the continuance request and Santos is due back in court on Oct. 27.


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