George Santos plays down talk of plea deal in fraud case

New York Congressman George Santos said that talks of a plea deal in the fraud case against him are merely “speculative,” after prosecutors asked for the delay of a court-ordered meeting, in part to continue “discussions” with the Republican representative.

In a Tuesday letter written to Judge Joanna Seybert, who is overseeing the matter, Assistant US Attorney Ryan Harris asked for a delay of the status conference scheduled for 7 September, as Mr Santos needs more time to review “voluminous discoverable material previously produced by the government.”

Prosecutors added that they are also expecting to make “another substantial production of discoverable material” this week.

Additionally, Mr Harris asked for more time as Mr Santos and prosecutors wish to continue “to discuss possible paths forward in this matter.”

When Bloomberg asked Mr Santos about the potential plea deal, the New York Republican replied in a text that any suggestion of such an agreement is “speculative.” When Talking Points Memo contacted Mr Santos, he called the assertion “wildly inaccurate” and insisted that his attorney was finding another “path forward.”

Mr Santos pleaded not guilty in May to the 13 federal charges, which include embezzling money from his campaign, falsely receiving unemployment funds and lying to Congress about his finances.

The status conference was originally slated for 7 September, but Mr Harris requested for it to be held on 27 October instead.

The request was granted as the judge wrote on Tuesday that the delay “serves the ends of justice and outweighs the best interests of the public” as it will “allow all counsel to focus their efforts on those discussions and that review of material without the risk that they would be denied the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation for trial, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”