US Republican lawmaker George Santos pleads not guilty to 13 federal criminal charges

New York congressman George Santos pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 13 federal criminal charges including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and lying to Congress. The Republican lawmaker appeared in federal court in New York's Eastern District. Santos, 34, who lied about his background during his 2022 election campaign, faces seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, according to an indictment that was unsealed Wednesday. 'This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,' said US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. '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,' he said. Peace accused Santos of using political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applying for unemployment benefits and lying to the House of Representatives. Santos was released on $500,000 bail after turning himself in at a court early Wednesday. He said he will not resign and vowed to clear his name after he left the court. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. After the freshman Republican congressman admitted he had lied about parts of his resume, dozens of Republican leaders urged Santos to step down. Although his campaign biography said he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, those companies said they did not have any record of him working there. His resume said he graduated from Baruch College in 2010 but officials there were not able to confirm a record of him attending the school. He later admitted he 'never worked directly' for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and confessed he never graduated from any college.

Source: Anadolu Agency