Embattled Republican Representative George Santos from New York said during an interview on Sunday that a plea deal is currently “not on the table” for him as he focuses on his defense case.
The freshman congressman, appearing on the “Inside Politics Sunday” program on CNN, made those comments after being questioned about his looming legal troubles, which include additional criminal charges being levied against him.
The anchor of the CNN show, Manu Raju, asked Santos whether there was a chance that he might try to negotiate a plea deal in his case with prosecutors.
“Well, I’m not exploring any of that right now, right? Those conversations are yet to be had.”
Raju then pressed Santos further, asking whether it was a possibility that those conversations might happen. He said:
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Right now, I’m pretty focused on my defense and putting together my defense with my attorneys.”
He then was asked if he was completely ruling out a plea deal or not, to which he said:
“I’m not saying I’m not – I’m not saying I’m not ruling it out. As of right now, it’s not on the table.”
Santos was just elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2022, but quickly started facing questions of whether he had lied about his qualifications for the position. In the time since, he’s been faced with accusations of lying about his education and heritage, and has been levied with criminal campaign finance charges.
Just last month, Nancy Marks, the former treasurer of his campaign, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring with Santos to inflate his campaign finance reports fraudulently. Santos spoke about that on the CNN program, too, saying:
“People will say whatever they have to say, cut whatever deal they have to cut in order to save their hide. And this isn’t surprising. I don’t know why people are so stuck.”
Raju asked whether Santos believed that Marks was making up what she was saying in court. He replied:
“I’m not accusing her of anything. All I’m saying is, she has her story. I’m going to come with my facts, and I’m going to tell my side of the story.”
Santos, who is 35 years old, has long faced questions about whether he fabricated his background and story during the campaign last year. In October, he was charged with 10 additional criminal charges regarding campaign finance crimes, as well as charging the credit cards of some of his donors without having their authorization to do so.
All of that came after he was originally charged with 13 counts of lying on his House financial disclosures, receiving unemployment benefits illegally and misleading donors. Those charges were first handed down back in May.
In total, Santos is facing 23 total criminal charges.
Just last week, the House tried to expel Santos from Congress, but that resolution failed by a vote of 179-213-19.