News USA George Santos, a Republican congressman, pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges...

George Santos, a Republican congressman, pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges and is released on bail

(CNN) — George Santos, the Republican representative of the United States, pleaded not guilty this Wednesday to 13 federal charges, which include accusations of fraud related to unemployment benefits due to covid-19, embezzlement of campaign funds and misrepresentations about his personal finances in reports presented to the House of Representatives.

The New York representative appeared in federal court on Long Island, where he was released on $500,000 bail, according to the US Attorney’s Office. He is charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making false statements to the House of Representatives.

The indictment casts even more uncertainty about the political future of Santos, a freshman congressman whose shocking pattern of lies and fabrications caught even seasoned politicians by surprise and led top Democrats and some New York Republicans to call for his resignation early. of this year.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said Wednesday he would wait a while before calling for Santos’ resignation.

“This always worries me,” McCarthy told CNN after being briefed on the money laundering and wire fraud charges.

“He will pass his trial time and we will see what the outcome is,” McCarthy added.

Prosecutors say Santos solicited campaign funds under false pretenses and used them for personal expenses such as designer clothes.

The indictment accuses Santos of implementing a “fraudulent scheme to solicit political contributions.” According to the document, the now-congressman created a company and got his supporters to provide him with funds under the false pretense that the money would benefit his political campaign.

However, prosecutors say, thousands of dollars went to Santos’ personal expenses, including luxury designer clothes and credit card payments.

Santos, who was elected last year to represent a district that includes parts of Long Island and Queens, has been investigated in multiple jurisdictions and by the House Ethics Committee. The congressman admitted to making some misleading claims about his education and financial status, but continues to deny the more serious allegations. He has not admitted to any wrongdoing.

He was detained in Melville, a police source told CNN. From there, they took him to the courthouse in Central Islip.

George Santos

Representative George Santos leaves a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, January 25, 2023, in Washington. (Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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