Indicted US Representative George Santos cannot keep bail guarantors anonymous

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The two people who guaranteed George Santos’ bail will have their names publicly revealed, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday as she rejected the indicted U.S. representative’s claim that disclosure could threaten the guarantors’ safety.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip, New York, said the names will be made public on Thursday at noon EDT (1600 GMT).

The judge said Santos may in the meantime try to modify the terms of his release if his guarantors, who he has suggested were family members, withdraw their $500,000 bail guarantee.

Santos, 34, has expressed a willingness to go to jail rather than release the names.

The first-term congressman has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment accusing him of fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds.

Joseph Murray, a lawyer for Santos, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Santos had been appealing a June 6 ruling by a federal magistrate judge to identify the guarantors.

At least 11 media organizations had sought the names, citing the public interest.

According to a court filing, the House of Representatives’ Ethics Committee also wanted the names, to determine whether Santos violated that chamber’s rules on gifts.

Murray has said Santos and his staff had been subjected to a “media frenzy and hateful attacks” since Santos’ indictment became public on May 9, and it was “reasonable” to believe his bail guarantors might face the same treatment.

Following his election, Santos drew much criticism, including bipartisan calls that he resign, after reports that he had lied about much of his personal and professional background. He has since admitted to fabricating large parts of his resume.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)