The House of Representatives took the official photo for the 118th Congress. One congressman will be notably missing from the photo – George Santos.
The New York lawmaker missed the photo Wednesday afternoon as he appeared before a federal court in Long Island, New York.
He pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges including allegations of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports.
6:25 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
McCarthy says he won’t support Santos for reelection
From CNN's From Manu Raju and Haley Talbot
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he will not support Republican Rep. George Santos for reelection.
"No I'm not going to support him," McCarthy told CNN's Manu Raju. "Santos has a lot going on. I think he has other things to focus on in his life other than running for reelection."
McCarthy said that if the House Ethics Committee determined Santos broke the law he would call for him to resign.
5:25 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
Nassau County DA says Santos indictment an "important first step" in holding him accountable
From CNN’s Nicki Brown
The district attorney's office in the New York district George Santos represents said the indictment of the lawmaker is an "important first step in holding him accountable for the unbelievable actions that he’s taken.”
Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said her office began investigating Santos independently before federal partners approached and said they could conduct a stronger investigation together.
"It was a smart thing to marry up with them and get this indictment,” Donnelly said outside her office. “It was a very well-run investigation. The investigators involved in it left no stones unturned, and they uncovered more inconsistencies than we ever thought possible."
Donnelly said that her office continues to investigate Santos and will work with their federal counterparts again if needed.
When asked if she thinks Santos should resign, Donnelly said, "Resign? The man never should’ve been elected.”
“The members of congressional district three deserve better. They deserve someone who is accountable, they deserve someone who they can rely on, and obviously, this is not the person,” Donnelly said.
In response to a question from CNN on whether she expects additional charges will be filed against Santos, Donnelly said, “It is very much an ongoing investigation.”
CNN’s Laura Ly and Tanika Gray contributed reporting to this post.
4:53 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
George Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges. Here's what happens next
From CNN's Tierney Sneed and Fredreka Schouten
Republican Rep. George Santos has been charged in a federal criminal probe that — from a legal standpoint — won't affect his status as a member of Congress but will ensnare him in a potentially yearslong court process that could result in a sentence of several years in prison.
Here's what to know about the significance of the charges and what happens next.
Santos is accused of funneling contributions meant to support his campaigns into his personal bank accounts and instead was spent on luxury clothes and paying off debt.
Prosecutors also allege he fraudulently applied for and received Covid-related unemployment benefits while receiving a six-figure salary working for an investment firm.
If convicted of the top counts in the indictment, Santos faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to the Justice Department, though it's more likely he'd receive a much lesser sentence.
The charges: The first scheme described by prosecutors are alleged false representations made by Santos to political donors that led them to make contributions that were not ultimately used to support his campaign. That alleged scheme has prompted five counts of wire fraud and three counts of unlawful monetary transactions.
The second set of accusations concerns Santos' allegedly false applications for unemployment benefits, resulting in a theft of public money count and two more wire fraud counts.
Third, false statements that Santos is accused of making on financial disclosures he filed in the House led to two additional counts.
How do prosecutors plan to prove their case? If the case against Santos does go to trial, prosecutors have indicated they have financial records, text messages and other forms of evidence to support their case.
Prosecutors aren't required to show their full hand at the charging phase, so it could be that the new indictment is just a preview of what investigators have collected.
What happens next in the legal process? On Wednesday afternoon, Santos made his first appearance in court, pleaded not guilty, and was released on a $500,000 bond. He had to surrender his passport and will need court approval to travel beyond New York and Washington, DC.
The proceedings will now enter a pretrial phase that could stretch out for several months. Santos' lawyers will have the chance to ask that his case be dismissed. If the judge declines and rules that the case can advance toward trial, there will be pretrial litigation over what kind of evidence the prosecutors can put before the jury and what kind of defense Santos can mount in response.
It's up to Congress to decide whether to expel Santos, Biden says
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez
President Joe Biden declined to weigh in on whether he believes embattled Republican Rep. George Santos should be expelled from Congress after the representative from New York was charged in a federal probe.
“Look, if I comment at all on Santos, you’re all going to say I’m getting the Justice Department to do things. I’m not commenting on Santos at all,” Biden said, speaking on the tarmac in New York.
When pressed on whether Santos should be expelled by lawmakers, the president said, “That’s for Congress to decide.”
Republican leadership reactions: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told CNN Wednesday morning that he is standing by Santos and not calling on him to resign after being informed of the 13-count indictment against him.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told CNN, “they are serious charges and he is going to have to go through the legal process."
CNN's Haley Talbot contributed to this report.
3:48 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
George Santos says he will return to DC to vote on border bill tomorrow
From CNN’s Celina Tebor
George Santos said he will return to DC to vote on a border bill Thursday.
“I have to go back and vote,” he said. “Tomorrow we have one of the most consequential votes in this Congress, which is the border bill, and I’m very looking forward to being there to vote on it.”
The embattled representative from New York also said he is still planning on running for re-election after pleading not guilty to 13 federal charges that include wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to the House.
Some background on the border bill: The GOP border bill, which is dead on arrival in the Senate, would restart construction of the border wall, increase funding for border agents and upgraded border technology, reinstate the “remain in Mexico” policy, place new restrictions on asylum seekers, and enhance requirements for E-verify.
3:45 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
Santos denies allegations he fraudulently applied for Covid-related unemployment benefits
From CNN’s Celina Tebor
After pleading not guilty to 13 federal charges, Republican Rep. George Santos denied allegations that he fraudulently applied for Covid-related unemployment benefits.
“During the pandemic, it wasn’t very clear. I don’t understand where the government’s getting their information, but I will present my facts,” Santos said. “My employment was changed during the time, I don’t understand where the government’s coming from."
When a reporter asked Santos what evidence he had, the Republican representative said, “I have plenty of evidence that we will now be sharing with the government, in this case, to make sure that I can defend my innocence.”
More on the charges: Santos is accused of fraudulently applying for unemployment benefits, with the indictment alleging he falsely claimed to be unemployed in an application for a pandemic-related unemployment insurance program.
Though he claimed in the application he had been unemployed since March 2020, according to prosecutors, he was employed at an investment firm and, as part of a $120,000 annual salary, he was allegedly receiving regular deposits – with the exception of one period in July and August 2020.
He was employed at the firm between February 2020 and mid-April 2021, the indictment alleges. But, because of the repeated false assertions he is alleged to have made to the unemployment program, Santos also received $24,744 in benefits, according to prosecutors.
3:28 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
Santos says he will not resign and plans to run for reelection
Rep. George Santos told reporters outside the courthouse in Central Islip, New York, that he will not resign from Congress — and that he plans on running for reelection.
Asked if he thought he would win reelection, Santos said, "That's not up for me to know. Elections are very tricky. It's up to the people. I trust them to decide what's best."
3:27 p.m. ET, May 10, 2023
Santos calls indictment "a witch hunt"
New York Rep. George Santos told reporters Wednesday that he has been "compliant throughout this entire process" and will continue to be as he faces 13 federal charges.
"I have no desire not to comply at this point," Santos said. "Now I'm going to have to go and fight to defend myself."
He called the indictment "a witch hunt" and said he will "fight my battle."
Santos today pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges, including counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and lying to the US House