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George Santos asks judge to keep sealed names of bail sponsors



Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) on Monday asked a judge to keep sealed the names of the people who cosigned his $500,000 bond in his criminal fraud case.

Media organizations in two separate requests have asked for the court to unseal the names, arguing that there is a public right to access the records.

Santos’s attorney, Joseph Murray, cited a “media frenzy” and said the embattled congressman would rather be detained ahead of his trial than allow his bail sponsors’ names to become public.

“If this Court is so inclined to unseal the sureties, we truly fear for their health, safety and well being,” Murray wrote.

Santos declined to comment when asked by The Hill about the filing.


Santos last month was indicted on 13 federal criminal charges, including counts of wire fraud and money laundering. He pleaded not guilty.

Court documents indicate Santos was released on a $500,000 bond after his arraignment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and three individuals cosigned the bond.

Their names have not been made public, and Santos has denied reporter inquiries about their identities.

“In fact, if the suretors are required to be identified, we respectfully request that the Court allow the suretors notice before the court releases their information so that they can withdraw as cosignors on the bond and Rep. Santos and I will appear before Your Honor forthwith,” Murray wrote. 

“My client would rather surrender to pretrial detainment than subject these suretors to what will inevitably come,” he continued.

The New York Times first filed a motion to unseal the records last month. A second request was submitted two days later by a coalition of other media companies, comprising ABC News, The Associated Press, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, CNN, Insider, NPR, NBC, Newsday and The Washington Post. 

Both requests ask the judge to make public the names of the three sureties and any transcripts of sealed proceedings.


The media organizations argued there was a compelling public interest in unsealing the records, while asserting that the First Amendment provides a right for the press and public to access them anyway.

“The surety records relate to three individuals who have committed large sums of money to ensure that Rep. Santos can remain at liberty, pending further proceedings,” wrote Dana Green, senior counsel at The New York Times.

“This presents an obvious opportunity for political influence, given Rep. Santos’s elected position and his dependence on these suretors,” she added. “That risk is further heightened by the fact that the very crimes Rep. Santos has been charged with involve abusing the political process for personal gain.”

Prosecutors on Friday took no position on the request. The Justice Department similarly took no position in the recent high-profile case of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who looked to keep sealed the names of his bond sureties.

Santos’s opposition on Monday came with little surprise. On the day of his arraignment, Santos told reporters they would “never get” the names of the three sureties.

“Your intention is to go harass them and make their life miserable,” Santos told reporters.

Murray in Monday’s filing said one of the three cosigners lined up backed out after news of Santos’s indictment leaked.


The New York Republican has been under scrutiny since before he was sworn into office amid questions about his biography and finances. He admitted to embellishing parts of his resume but still faces queries about financial disclosure forms he submitted and whether or not he engaged in unlawful activity during his 2022 campaign, among other matters.

A number of lawmakers in both parties have called for Santos to resign or be expelled but he has said he has no plans to leave Congress early. Additionally, House Republican leadership has maintained that the legal process involving Santos should play out before lawmakers consider taking action against him.

But in an escalation of the political firestorm surrounding the New Yorker, the House voted last month to refer a resolution to expel Santos to the Ethics Committee, punting the question of whether or not he should be kicked out of Congress.

The move, however, was largely redundant since the Ethics Committee is already looking into the embattled congressman.

In March, the panel said it was looking into whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”

On the day of his indictment, Santos told reporters in New York “I believe I’m innocent.”


“I’m gonna fight my battle, I’m gonna deliver, I’m gonna fight the witch hunt, I’m gonna take care of clearing my name and I look forward to doing that,” he added.

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Source: The Hill

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