U.S. Rep. George Santos faces federal criminal charges


U.S. Rep. George Santos could stand in front of a federal judge as early as Wednesday, reportedly facing criminal charges widely believed to be related to how he financed his 2022 congressional campaign in Queens and on Long Island. 

The specific charges remain under seal, but a number of agencies were said to be focused quite intently on where Santos raised money, and how he spent it. If that's true, Santos could face charges stretching from fraud to other infractions related to campaign finance. 

Santos did not return an immediate request for comment. But his Democratic opponent in the 2022 election, Robert Zimmerman, told the Herald that Santos "betrayed voters, broke the law, and should resign from Congress."

"Long Island and Queens deserve a representative who will tell the truth and focus entirely on lowering costs for families, making our communities safer, and upgrading our infrastructure," Zimmerman said. "If Republicans in the House fail to move for his immediate expulsion, they will be accomplices to his crimes."

Just last week, Santos told the Herald he would run as a Republican in 2024, but would not run as a third-party candidate if he lost the GOP nomination. The Nassau County Republican Party previously called on Santos to resign — joining politicians and community leaders on both sides of the political aisle, including one of his Long Island colleagues on Capitol Hill Anthony D'Esposito.

In the wake of the news, Congressman D'Esposito renewed his calls on Santos to step down from the House.

"I am confident the justice system will fully reveal Congressman Santos's long history of deceit," D'Esposito said, "and I once again call on this serial fraudster to resign from office."

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, who lost a Democratic primary for the seat to Zimmerman, also called on Congress to expel Santos. 

"There is now no further excuse to keep Santos in the House," Lafazan said. "This federal indictment confirms what we have known all along — that Santos broke the public trust, and violated federal law in the process." 

Additional reporting by Michael Hinman. This is a breaking news story. — last update 5/9/23, 7:22 p.m.