Judge orders names of 3 people who backed George Santos’ $500,000 bond to be unsealed

A New York judge ruled on Tuesday that the names of Rep. George Santos, R.N.Y.’s bond sureties will be released on Thursday unless the indicted freshman congressman seeks to change the terms of his release .

Siding with several news outlets seeking to make the names public, Long Island U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert ordered that “all previously sealed documents, including the bond, be unsealed to the extent where the names of the defendant’s guarantors must be disclosed.

“It is further ordered that the above documents be kept under seal until Thursday, June 22 at 12:00 p.m., during which time the defendant may seek variation of the terms of his release, should the sureties seek to withdraw from the function of guarantors,” Seybert writes.

In a letter to the judge earlier this month, Santos’ attorney Joseph Murray said the congressman would agree to disclose that there is a “family” relationship between the Republican and those who signed his commitment. Santos wants to protect the identities of the family members as he fights criminal charges.


George Santos in front of the Capitol

Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., speaks to reporters after attempting to expel him from the House, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Santos says he wants to protect the family who are seeking to keep his secret co-signers. . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

News media challenged the sealing of co-signers’ records after Santos pleaded not guilty on May 10 to a 13-count indictment alleging he tricked donors, stole from his campaign, lied to Congress about being a millionaire and cheating to collect unemployment benefits. he did not deserve. Santos was released on $500,000 bond.

The New York Times initially sought to unseal the names, with the paper’s attorney arguing that the First Amendment required public access to the identity of those who signed the bond and that the signing of the bond ” presents a clear opportunity for political influence”.

George Santos heads to House Republican Caucus meeting

Rep. George Santos, R-NY, walks to a House Republican Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill May 30, 2023, in Washington, DC Santos has refused to resign from Congress despite a federal indictment on fraud and money laundering charges. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)


US Magistrate Judge Anne Shields initially ordered the names released, but gave Santos time to appeal. Murray told Shields that Santos would rather go to jail than subject bond co-signers to the kind of threats he has received. In his letter to Seybert, the attorney repeatedly denounced the “media frenzy” surrounding the criminal case, saying that three people lined up to co-sign the Santos bond “became very scared and worried” on May 10 and one of them had a “change your mind and back off.

George Santos walks on the house floor

Representative George Santos, R.Y., waits on the House floor as United States House Speaker Kevin McCarthy presides over the vote on the Secure the Border Act of 2023 on May 11, 2023. Santos faces federal indictment for fraud and money laundering. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Murray said he publicly informed the House Ethics Committee that those who signed his bond were his family members and not lobbyists, donors or others seeking to influence Santos, and that he was prepared to do the same in court documents. CBS News reported that the House Ethics Committee is also seeking to know the identities of people who helped Santos post bail and get released before trial, as the committee investigates any possible violations of the rule. gifts from home.


The defense attorney also said Santos had faced “hateful attacks” since his arrest and had been confronted by “extremely angry, anti-gay, anti-Republican and anti-social individuals.” Murray told the court earlier this month that he, Santos and Santos staff received threatening and harassing calls and messages, including death threats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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