New York

Santos Talks to Prosecutors About ‘Paths Forward’ as New Evidence Looms

Representative George Santos has entered talks with federal prosecutors about “possible paths forward” in his fraud case, an indication that the parties may be considering a plea deal.

In a letter filed on Tuesday, prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York notified the judge that they intended this week to file a batch of new evidence against Mr. Santos, a Republican representing parts of Long Island and Queens.

In their request to delay a court conference set for Thursday, prosecutors wrote that they anticipated making “another substantial production” of evidence this week and wanted to give Mr. Santos time to review the material.

They added that the parties “have continued to discuss possible paths forward in this matter,” and would need “additional time to continue those discussions.” They asked that the status conference be pushed to Oct. 27.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District declined to comment, as did Mr. Santos’s congressional staff.

Mr. Santos’s personal lawyer did not immediately respond. But on X, the website formerly known as Twitter, the congressman appeared to tease political observers with a cryptic message: “Word of the day: Speculation.”

Mr. Santos earned infamy late last year after revelations that he had invented swaths of his personal history and was accused of being involved in a series of petty schemes. He is facing 13 felony counts, including money laundering, wire fraud and theft of public funds, and has pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Santos faces up to 20 years in prison for the top counts in the indictment. The specter of additional evidence, and possibly even additional charges, could add to the pressure on the first-term congressman to plead.

Mr. Santos has previously rejected any notion that he would accept a plea deal, declaring himself, like former President Donald J. Trump, to be the victim of a “witch hunt.”

But in an interview on NewsNation with Dan Abrams last month, Mr. Santos appeared for the first time to acknowledge the possibility of pleading guilty and avoiding a trial.

“I’m not making any assertions right now,” he told Mr. Abrams. “Like I said earlier, right now the answer is no, but you just never know what life is going to come at you.”

The delay in Mr. Santos’s case came on the same day that a related case — the indictment of Mr. Santos’s fund-raiser, Samuel Miele — was also adjourned.

Mr. Miele, who collaborated with Mr. Santos across his campaigns and business ventures, was charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for impersonating a staffer of the then-minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, in fund-raising appeals in 2021.

Mr. Miele, 27, was fired shortly afterward. But a P.A.C. controlled by Mr. Santos’s sister continued to pay Mr. Miele intermittently for “professional services,” with the last payment in June 2022. In the fall of that year, nearly a year after he separated from the campaign, Mr. Miele wrote a letter to Mr. Santos admitting to faking his identity, according to Mr. Miele’s indictment. It is not known what precipitated the letter.

A routine status conference in Mr. Miele’s case was set to take place Tuesday morning, but was adjourned an hour before it was scheduled to begin. A letter filed with the court made clear that the delay was made to accommodate plea negotiations and discovery review.

There is no evidence at this time that there is any relationship between the two adjournments. But if prosecutors were to offer Mr. Miele a plea deal, it could, in theory, be contingent on his testimony against Mr. Santos. A judge was asked to postpone Mr. Miele’s status conference to Oct. 6.

Mr. Santos will return to Washington next week when Congress resumes following the August recess. His return will mark six months since the Ethics Committee announced it had opened an inquiry into his background and campaign finances.

Colin Moynihan contributed reporting from Central Islip, N.Y.

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