A federal judge in the Eastern District of New York has ruled in favor of releasing the names of the individuals who’ve backed the bond arrangement recently obtained by Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in his federal criminal case. Though the nature of that arrangement doesn’t automatically entail that these individuals produced that much money upfront, Santos’s bond was set at $500,000.
The charges that Santos is facing include broad allegations of financial misconduct, such as obtaining unemployment assistance for which he wasn’t eligible and lying to the U.S. House about his financial status. He was also accused of using outside money that was meant to support his political ambitions instead for personal expenses. Santos has been consistently pushing back against the prospect of releasing identifying details for whoever’s helped secure his bond arrangement, but he’s been consistently failing, with the federal judge’s new ruling in response to an appeal. A lawyer for Santos previously raised contentions about supposed threats to those individuals’ safety in the event their names were made public.
Santos’s bond arrangement was also put under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which was examining whether the set-up could have violated rules about the gifts that members of Congress can receive while in office. That panel previously made its own separate request for information on the individuals who joined the bond deal. It would obviously have access to any such details once they’re made public, which should be soon. The decision from Judge Joanna Seybert schedules the release for Thursday at noon. Before that point, Santos has the opportunity to — quickly — seek a modification of his release agreement with the court, which in theory could keep some names from release. That lawyer for Santos already claimed that an individual who’d originally joined the bond arrangement subsequently departed.
Santos is, somehow, running for another term, though it’s unlikely he’ll actually get two more years in office. He has already faced opposition from local Republican leaders including individuals in elected office, and polling that was publicized by Newsday found a three-fourths majority of his constituents saying he should resign — before the charges even emerged.
UPDATE: George Santos’s appeal was denied. The names of the people who guaranteed his $500,000 bail bond will be unsealed on Thursday at noon, per judge’s order. pic.twitter.com/sb6fcDlpmV
— Michael Gold (@migold) June 20, 2023