The identity of the two people who rescued Republican George Santos from federal custody has come to light.
They are his aunt and father, a fact that the Republican fought to conceal as he faces criminal charges and financial questions.
In a court filing on Thursday, Gercino dos Santos Jr. and Elma Preven were listed as co-signers for Santos’ $500,000 bond. This allowed Santos to be released while he awaits trial on federal charges of fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.
Santos, a Republican from New York, had fought to hide their identities. The Associated Press and other media outlets petitioned the court for the records to be unsealed, citing the right of the public to be informed of court proceedings.
Joseph Murray, his attorney, stated in a court filing earlier this month that Santos would instead go to jail than expose his guarantors to the “great harm” that could result from public disclosure. The co-signers were not required to pay anything upfront under the bond agreement; however, they would be held financially responsible if Santos did not appear in court.
Murray cited Santos’s experiences with the “media frenzy and hateful attacks” as a reason to make an exception to the rule that the identities of signatories are normally made public. After his first court appearance, Santos told reporters they would “never get” information about where his bail money came from and that the media would “harass them and make their life miserable.”
However, a federal judge denied Santos’ request to conceal the information after news organizations pushed for the filings to be made public. Santos appealed the decision, arguing that the co-signers should be able to withdraw their support before the names are released, according to his attorney. On Tuesday, the appeal was denied.
Judge Joanna Seybert wrote in a newly unsealed filing that Santos “did nothing to diffuse the’media frenzy,'” adding that his efforts to conceal the names of his family members had “simply created hysteria over what is, in fact, a nonissue.”
His father and aunt both lived in New York and gave money to Santos’s campaign. His father describes himself as a painter in campaign finance records. Preven claimed that she carried mail.
Some House Democrats suggested that a financial supporter might be trying to influence the congressman’s political decisions because Santos had tried to hide their identities from the public.
This week, Representatives. A resolution was introduced by Dan Goldman, a Democrat from New York, and Greg Landsman, a Democrat from Ohio, requesting that the House Ethics Committee reveal the names so that they could ascertain whether Santos had broken the rules governing congressional gifting.
On May 10, Santos pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment alleging that he defrauded donors, stole from his campaign, lied to Congress about being a millionaire, and lied to obtain unjustified unemployment benefits.
He has refused to answer questions about his wealth, including a $700,000 payment to his campaign, despite calls for him to resign. Federal prosecutors claim that Santos falsely certified that he received a salary of $750,000 from a consulting firm, the Devolder Organization LLC, which resulted in an enormous overstatement of his income and assets.
If found guilty, Santos could spend up to 20 years in prison. June 30 will see his return to court.