Embattled Congressman George Santos has appealed after a judge told him the identities of the trio who posted their $500,000 bail must be released publicly.
Mr. Santos, a Republican from New York, pleaded not guilty last month to defrauding his campaign supporters, lying to obtain unemployment benefits and providing false information on congressional disclosure forms.
Judge Anne Shields ruled on Tuesday that Mr Santos has until 12 noon on Friday to appeal her decision, after which the names would be unsealed. She also sealed her decision and kept the names private until the deadline.
On Friday morning, Mr Santos filed an eight-page appeal against the decision, arguing that if the three people involved were identified, they might no longer need to act as his guarantors. CBS News reported.
Mr Santos’ lawyers had argued on Monday that the names should not be released, saying they “really fear for their health, safety and well-being”.
Lawmakers’ attorney Joseph Murray previously said Mr Santos would rather go to jail before his criminal trial than let the names go public.
“My client would rather go into custody than expose these guarantors to what is inevitably to come,” Mr Murray had said.
The charges against Mr. Santos include seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of material misrepresentation to the House of Representatives.
Prosecutors allege that he lied on financial forms submitted as part of his bid for the House of Representatives, failed to disclose forms of income, overstated earnings and used donations from his political campaign for personal purposes, including “thousands of dollars of requested funds for personal expenses, including …” Luxury designer clothes and credit card payments.”
Mr Santos, who defeated an incumbent Democrat to win his Long Island seat in 2022, has refused to step down despite the controversies he has been embroiled in.
After his impeachment, the Democrats introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that provided for his expulsion from the chamber. The House of Representatives voted cross-party on Thursday to refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee, with Mr Santos himself voting against its blast.