US Republican George Santos breaks silence on ‘witch hunt’ arrest


Rep. George Santos (R-NY) denied fraud and money laundering allegations against him in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, after the freshman representative—who has faced scandal after scandal in his first term in office—pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges, calling his arraignment in a Long Island courthouse an “experience for a book.”
George Santos pleads not guilty to fraud charges

Rep. George Santos denied allegations against him, after he pleaded guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • When asked about the allegations, Santos called them “inaccurate information,” saying he will “get to clear” his name and that he “doesn’t know where the government is getting their information.”
  • Santos said he still plans to run for reelection in 2024 and has no intention to resign, despite calls from members of both parties to step down.
  • Santos also told reporters: “When it’s your first time experiencing something of this nature, I think everybody would show some kind of stress,” but quickly added he did not feel stressed during his arraignment.
  • Santos was released on $500,000 bond Wednesday, just hours after he was indicted on charges including wire fraud, falsifying financial statements to Congress, money laundering and theft of public funds.
  • Prosecutors allege Santos coordinated a months-long fraud scheme leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, in which he misled donors to his campaign and spent thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions on his own personal expenses.
  • Prosecutors also claim Santos falsified financial statements submitted to the House of Representatives during two election cycles in 2020 and 2022, and applied for unemployment benefits during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, even when he was making roughly $120,000 in his annual salary.
  • When asked why he would apply for those unemployment benefits, Santos replied: “During the pandemic, it wasn’t very clear,” and that prosecutors’ allegations are inaccurate.
Crucial Quote

“The reality is, it’s a witch hunt because it makes no sense that in four months—four months, five months—I’m indicted,” Santos lamented to reporters. “I’m going to fight my battle. I’m going to deliver. I’m going to fight the witch hunt. I’m going to take care of clearing my name and I look forward to doing that.”

What To Watch For

A possible resignation. Santos skirted a question from a reporter who asked if he would negotiate a plea deal, adding: “I’m fine, I’m good, I believe I’m innocent.” Jay Jacobs, New York state’s Democratic Committee chairman, said he believes Santos could float his potential resignation as part of a plea deal negotiation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Chief Critic

Calls for Santos’ resignation escalated Wednesday, with members of both parties, including fellow New York Republicans, urging Santos to relinquish his seat or have Congress expel him in what would be the first expulsion from the House of Representatives in more than 20 years. In a tweet Wednesday morning, Rep.

Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) argued Santos should be ousted from the House “immediately,” while several Republicans from Santos’ home state, including Reps. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), called on him to resign. Other Republicans have pushed for Santos to keep his seat—at least for now—in order to maintain the GOP’s narrow majority in the chamber. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he would only call on Santos to step down if he is found guilty.

This story was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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