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Rep. George Santos is facing federal charges, sources say

The Republican congressman is at the center of a number of probes into his finances and other issues.
/ Source: NBC News

Justice Department prosecutors have charged Rep. George Santos with federal offenses, four sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News, the most significant escalation in a growing pile of investigations that have plagued the first-term lawmaker since before he even took office.

One source said that Santos, who is in Washington, D.C. for House votes on Tuesday night, could surrender at the federal courthouse in the Eastern District of New York Wednesday morning. He is expected to make a court appearance Wednesday afternoon, the source said.

A congressional source said that Santos learned about the charges on Tuesday, May 9. Santos and his lawyer did not immediately return requests for comment.

The New York Republican, who faced legal and political pressure to resign from Congress after he admitted to lying about parts of his background, is the subject of multiple investigations into his finances and other issues.

No court documents associated with the case were immediately available. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment. CNN first reported the pending charges.

In December, two federal law enforcement sources confirmed that federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York had opened an investigation into Santos and were examining his finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his congressional campaign.

Santos announced his re-election campaign just last month, despite investigations into a variety of allegations against him in New York state, as well as by the House Ethics Committee, and calls by several of his home state colleagues for his resignation. Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., reiterated his call for Santos to step down in the wake of the indictment news Tuesday night.

“There’s a clock ticking and George Santos should have resigned in December. He should have resigned in January,” Molinaro said. “He should have resigned yesterday and maybe he’ll resign today, but sooner or later, honesty and justice will be delivered to him.”

The House Ethics Committee announced in early March it had opened a probe into Santos to determine whether he may have “engaged in unlawful activity” while campaigning for Congress or if he “failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House.”

The panel also said it would examine whether Santos violated federal conflict-of-interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services, as well as sexual misconduct allegations against him from a prospective aide.

A Navy veteran who accused Santos of disappearing with thousands of dollars from an online fundraising campaign intended to cover lifesaving surgery for his service dog also said that he spoke to the FBI about his allegations.

The Nassau County district attorney‘s office said in December that it, too, was looking into “numerous fabrications and inconsistencies” about Santos’ background after The New York Times uncovered a series of inconsistencies about his biography, including his education, work history and financial dealings. The New York State Attorney General’s Office said that same month that it was “looking into a number of issues” surrounding Santos.

While Santos has refused to resign from Congress, he said in late January that he would recuse himself from a pair of assignments on the Small Business and Science committees amid the probes.

New York Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Santos should have resigned a long time ago. Ocasio-Cortez called some of the prior allegations against Santos “disturbing,” but added: “He will have his day in court.”

Torres said that if Santos does not resign, Republican leadership must “summon the courage to join House Democrats in expelling” Santos. 

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