It hasn’t yet been decided whether U.S. Rep. George Santos will have to come clean, revealing the names of those who guaranteed his bail bond of $500,000 last month. But today he filed an appeal that Judge Anne Y. Shields will consider.
The Long Island federal magistrate judge had told Santos on Tuesday he had until today at noon to appeal her decision to reveal the identities of those who guaranteed his bail bond. Santos, a Republican, who represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes the North Shore, submitted his eight-page appeal today roughly an hour before his deadline.
Media outlets had petitioned the court asking for the names of the people who helped Santos meet the requirements for the surety bond. Santos himself was opposed to the release of those names, with his lawyer arguing the congressman would rather go to jail than have the names revealed, according to the Associated Press.
The House Ethics Committee is also interested in the names of the people who posted the surety bond, according to the New York Times. The Ethics Committee wishes to determine whether the $500,000 bail guarantee is in violation of House ethics rules regarding gifts.
The New York Times reports Joseph Murray, who represents Santos in the criminal case, argued in the appeal Santos did not violate ethics rules because there is an exception for family members, suggesting that the guarantors are related to Santos.
Murray told the judge on Tuesday he feared for the safety of those who signed for the congressman's surety bond.
The $500,000 amount was set May 10 when Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 felony counts, including fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements, related to his two campaigns for Congress in 2020 and 2022.
Murray initially asked the judge if she was planning to release the names, if they could be given time to have any of the suretors withdraw before their identities were revealed. Besides safety concerns, Murray also expressed reservations those who backed Santos financially with the court could face retaliation in the workplace.
Santos has continued to serve in Congress since his indictment, and vows not only to serve out his term, but even to run for re-election. Republicans blocked Democratic efforts shortly after his indictment to expel Santos from the House, instead referring the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which had already been investigating the congressman.
Santos has denied the charges, calling the prosecution a political "witch hunt."