Santos Breaks Silence on Criminal Charges, Vows to Chair Committee in 'a Couple of Years'
GOP Rep. George Santos professed his innocence Wednesday after appearing in federal court in New York to be arraigned on fraud charges.
The freshman congressmen also told reporters he has no plans to step down from representing New York’s 3rd congressional district.
Santos flipped the seat from blue to red last fall helping give Republicans a clean sweep of all four of Long Island’s House districts.
The 34-year-old was arraigned at a Long Island federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, The Associated Press reported.
Federal prosecutors filed a 13-court indictment on Tuesday that accuses Santos of multiple fraudulent acts, including creating a company and then inducing people to donate to it under the false pretense that it would be used to support his congressional campaign.
Instead, prosecutors allege, Santos used the money for personal expenses, such as designer clothes and credit card and car payments.
He is also accused of collecting unemployment benefits while also making $120,000 a year as an assistant director of a regional investment firm.
Further, prosecutors say he lied on his congressional financial disclosure forms.
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a Wednesday statement.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll added, “As today’s enforcement action demonstrates, the FBI remains committed to holding all equally accountable under the law. As we allege, Congressman Santos committed federal crimes, and he will now be forced to face the consequences of his actions.”
Santos, of course, didn’t see things the DOJ’s way.
“The reality is it’s a witch hunt, because it makes no sense that in four months, five months, I’m indicted,” Santos said.
He noted that DOJ has not charged members of the Biden family despite having Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell,” with information suggesting multiple crimes, for years.
“I’m going to fight my battle. I’m going to deliver. I’m going to fight the witch hunt. I am going to take care of clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that,” he said.
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) calls his arrest on a 13-count federal indictment a “witch hunt.”
The crowd then boos when he attempts to pivot to the Biden family’s international business dealings. pic.twitter.com/xFtVQh5lHd
— The Recount (@therecount) May 10, 2023
He also pledged that he’ll be “the chairman of a committee in a couple of years if you just look at the standards of Congress.”
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) after his arrest: “I’ll be a chairman of a committee in a couple of years, if you just look at the standards of Congress. Look at the Senate.” pic.twitter.com/CudJ2uxjwA
— The Recount (@therecount) May 10, 2023
Asked specifically about the allegation that he received unemployment benefits while having another job, Santos answered that his employment “changed” during the time frame.
“This is part of my defense. This is inaccurate information, and I will get to clear my name. During the pandemic, it wasn’t very clear. I don’t understand where the government is getting their information, but I will present my facts,” he said.
“My employment was changed during the time,” Santos added.
.@rachelvscott: Why would you apply for unemployment benefits when you were making $120,000 a year?
Rep. Santos: “This is part of my defense…during the pandemic, it wasn’t really clear.” pic.twitter.com/g8JYJ9yTXf
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) May 10, 2023
In December Santos confessed to lying about his resume — including saying he was a college graduate and had worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs — to help promote his congressional candidacy last fall.
So he may be blowing smoke now too.
One thing that is certain, Santos rightly contrasted the treatment he’s getting from the DOJ and FBI versus the Bidens.
WHERE’S HUNTER? 🤔
— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) May 10, 2023
One can’t help thinking if Santos were a Democrat, the hand of justice might not be so swift.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.