NEW YORK — An attorney for indicted Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., asserted Friday his client’s $500,000 bond on criminal charges was paid by relatives who are entitled to anonymity in his high-profile prosecution.
Defense attorney Joseph Murray laid out his concerns about publicly identifying the family members in a six-page federal court filing seeking to keep their names out of the public record.
“To the extent that it may be possible to unredact a portion of the sealed judicial bond records or proceedings to reveal the existence of a ‘family’ relationship … without identifying the name or type of family member, defendant would have no objections,” wrote Murray.
Santos, accused of lying repeatedly about his past and facing multiple federal charges, “has essentially publicly revealed that the suretors are family members and not lobbyists, donors or other seeking to exert influence over the defendant,” the court papers argued.
The politician believes if his benefactors were named “it is very likely … defendant and suretors will mutually agree they have to withdraw” from putting up the money, court papers said.
One of his potential benefactors had already embraced “a change of heart” and backed off his commitment to help Santos, said Murray.
The order to name the suretors was handed down this past Tuesday, with Santos given three days to appeal. Murray said this past Monday that his client would rather go to jail than publicly identify the people who posted the bond on his behalf.
The legal showdown began after Federal Court Magistrate Anne Shields sided with media outlets calling for the public identification of the people who put up the money for his release following a federal court hearing last month.
New organizations filed motions asking for the identities of those who posted the bond after Santos appeared in court last month on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to Congress.