Santos Prosecutors Say Talks on ‘Paths Forward’ Are Underway

(Bloomberg) -- Prosecutors in Representative George Santos’s federal fraud case said the two sides are discussing “possible paths forward,” as the US won a postponement to accommodate the talks.

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It isn’t clear if the embattled Republican congressman from New York, who pleaded not guilty in May, is negotiating an agreement to plead guilty. In a text message to Bloomberg News, he called any talk of a plea deal “speculative.”

The talks were cited in a letter to the court on Tuesday in which Assistant US Attorney Ryan Harris said prosecutors and lawyers for Santos wanted additional time to continue the discussions. Harris also said the defense needed more time to review the “voluminous” evidence in the case.

He asked that a Sept. 7 status conference be adjourned to Oct. 27. US District Judge Joanna Seybert granted the request.

Read More: Santos Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud, Defies Calls to Resign

Santos, 35, is accused of stealing public funds and lying on federal disclosure forms, among other allegations. The first-term lawmaker, who is running for re-election next year, faces as many as 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges of wire fraud and money laundering, according to the US.

The case poses a problem for Republicans amid calls on both sides of the aisle for Santos — a loyal vote for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy — to resign. The GOP’s narrow edge in the chamber means that to pass most bills, the party can’t have more than a handful of defections. McCarthy has said he wouldn’t support Santos’s re-election bid but has staved off a vote on expulsion by referring the matter to the House Ethics Committee. If Santos resigns or is ousted, his successor would be chosen by a special election in a Long Island district that voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

Joseph Murray, a lawyer for Santos, and a spokesman for Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace didn’t return voicemail and email messages seeking comment on Harris’s letter.

The filing came as Harris also sought a delay in the related case of Santos’s former fundraiser Samuel Miele, who was charged last month with wire fraud and identity theft for allegedly impersonating an aide to McCarthy. Miele, too, has pleaded not guilty.

Read More: Santos Fundraiser Charged With Posing as Kevin McCarthy Aide

In another letter to the court, Harris asked Seybert to delay a hearing Tuesday in Miele’s case until Oct. 6, citing “ongoing discovery review and plea negotiations.”

The cases are US v. Santos, 23-cr-197, and US v. Miele, 23-cr-327, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).

(Updates with adjournment of Santos hearing.)

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