New York Congressman George Santos charged by U.S. Justice Department, sources say

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Tuesday, May 9, 2023
George Santos charged by federal prosecutors
Long Island Congressman George Santos has officially been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice.

NEW YORK -- New York Congressman George Santos has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, sources say.

Santos was charged by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York Tuesday evening, according to sources familiar with the matter, ABC News reported.

The exact nature of the charges couldn't immediately be learned as they remain under seal, but the FBI and the Justice Department public integrity prosecutors in New York and Washington have been examining allegations of false statements in Santos' campaign finance filings and other claims.

The congressman's attorney declined to comment. Spokespeople for the Brooklyn US Attorney's Office, the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment.

Rep. Ritchie Torres issued a statement saying the criminal prosecution of Santos is "long overdue."

"He is a pathological liar and lawbreaker who lied to the voters of New York State and defrauded his way into the United States Congress," the statement read. "About 800,000 Americans have been continually deprived of the honest representation they deserve in the People's House. Although the details of the federal prosecution are not yet fully known, one thing is crystal clear - either Rep. Santos must resign or House Republican leadership, under Speaker Kevin McCarthy, must summon the courage to join House Democrats in expelling him. Rep. Santos is a deep rot of corruption at the core of Congress."

The freshman congressman, who was elected last year to represent a district that includes parts of Long Island and Queens, has been under investigation in multiple jurisdictions and by the House Ethics Committee.

During his brief time in office, Santos has been accused of breaking campaign finance laws, violating federal conflict of interest laws, stealing cash meant for an Iraq War veteran's dying dog, masterminding a credit card fraud scheme and lying about where he went to school and worked.

The charges come just a month after the embattled congressman announced he would run for re-election.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan condemned Santos for having the nerve to run again in light of misleading voters the first time.

"To think that one human being would have the audacity to vote for you after what you did to our constituents, then you're either insane, incompetent or a little bit of both," Lafazan said.

Santos has admitted to multiple fabrications and embellishments about his professional and personal life.

Politicians from both parties have called for his resignation.

The congressman's constituents have also expressed outrage at the lies Santos fabricated while campaigning and have held protests outside of his Long Island office.

Santos has admitted to making some misleading claims about his education and financial status, but continues to deny the more serious allegations.

New York Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Santos, repeatedly urging him to leave office and insisting they knew nothing about his shadowy past. Democrats, meanwhile, are attempting to shake off the embarrassment of not exposing Santos sooner ahead of what promises to be an expensive race to win back his and other neighboring seats in 2024.

The freshman lawmaker is facing several investigations including a House Ethics Committee probe over lies told on the campaign trail.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report