NY Rep. George Santos pleaded not guilty to 10 new charges in federal court on Friday.
The congressman has been charged with 23 total counts connected to alleged wire fraud, money laundering, and identity theft.
GOP lawmakers from New York moved this week to force a vote on whether to kick Santos out of Congress.
Republican Rep. George Santos dodged protestors and kept silent after pleading not guilty to a slew of new criminal charges in federal court in New York on Friday.
But in Washington DC, his congressional colleagues from New York are forcing a vote on whether to kick him out.
The twice-indicted congressman from Long Island's 3rd District stayed silent in the packed courtroom and didn't say anything while exiting the Central Islip federal courthouse.
Santos was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges in a superseding indictment on October 10, which added 10 new charges to an existing 13 counts from May.
Santos had previously pleaded not guilty to the original charges in May, and has called the federal case a "witch hunt."
Federal prosecutors allege that Santos charged donors credit cards without permission, with thousands ending up in his personal bank account, spent on "designer clothes" and to pay back personal debts.
Prosecutors also say Santos' former treasurer Nancy Marks schemed to falsify campaign finance reports during Santos' 2022 campaign so that Santos could garner financial support from a "national party committee," apparently the House GOP campaign arm's "Young Guns" initiative.
Marks pleaded guilty on October 10.
This week, Santos posted a photograph of himself on X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption "They're not after me, they're after you. I'm just in the way."
Santos, 35, appeared in court with his personal attorney Joseph Murray — himself the subject of a potential conflict of interest in the case that was flagged by the Department of Justice. Murray did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
After Santos' plea, Judge Joanna Seybert set Santos' trial date for September 9, 2024.
Santos is facing political blowback in the House as well.
On Thursday evening, a group of freshmen New York GOP lawmakers — including Long Island representative Anthony D'Esposito (R-NY), an outspoken critic of Santos' admitted and alleged fabrications and crimes — introduced a resolution to expel Santos from Congress.
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson, however, expressed hesitation about the precedent of expelling a representative before a criminal conviction, saying on Fox News that Santos is "due due process."
The resolution needs a two-thirds majority to pass. Santos has vowed not to resign from Congress.
After the court hearing Friday, Santos emerged from the courthouse to a crowd of protestors and constituents, many calling for faster congressional action to oust him from the House.
One of the constituents, Tom Kearney, told Insider he's an independent voter from Santos' district who considered voting for him. He held a sign comparing the congressman to Elizabeth Holmes outside the courthouse to ask Santos to have "some integrity" and resign, he said.
"I think he should resign, fight the charges if he's not guilty and come back and run again, if he wants," Kearney told Insider.
Rich Osthoff, a New Jersey Navy veteran who alleged Santos stole money raised for his sick dog in 2016, also attended the protest and yelled, "You killed my dog," when Santos walked out of the courthouse after the hearing, just as he did at Santos' May arraignment.
"I think he heard me, " he told Insider. "He was smiling and then heard me and his face fell."
Santos has previously denied knowing Osthoff.
Lisa Sevilmi, from East Patchogue, told a throng of reporters after the hearing that she wants her representative, Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) to bring the resolution to expel Santos to a vote.
"Garbarino is on the ethics committee and has been slow-walking" the investigation, she said.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Garbarino said: "As a Member of the House Ethics Committee, Congressman Garbarino is bound by the Committee's Confidentiality Rule and has no comment on matters that are or could come before the Committee."
Update October 27, 2023: This story has been updated to include a statement from Rep. Andrew Garbarino's office.
Read the original article on Business Insider