Rep. George Santos said that he would not take a plea deal “right now” in his federal indictment in which the congressman was charged with over a dozen counts.
Mr. Santos, New York Republican, told Fox 5 New York on Friday that he was “fighting to prove” his innocence.
“Right now, I’m fighting to prove my innocence, and I think that’s what everybody should do,” Mr. Santos said. “You have the burden of proving innocence and I think you should go fight for that.”
Mr. Santos was indicted on 13 federal charges in May for misleading donors and misrepresenting his finances to the public and government agencies. The lawmaker pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, Mr. Santos could face up to 20 years in prison.
When asked if the numerous federal charges would be a distraction for him, Mr. Santos said that was for his legal team to worry about.
“It’s a distraction if you don’t have a legal team, I have a legal team, that’s their job. My job is to work right,” Mr. Santos said. “I’m not a lawyer, I’m not putting on my defense, I’m not going through discovery, that’s my attorney’s job and they’re doing that.”
Earlier this week, the embattled lawmaker missed the deadline to file financial disclosures in Congress required from every lawmaker. Mr. Santos said that he has a 90-day grace period, and intends to file the disclosure.
Mr. Santos has long ignored calls from Republicans and Democrats to resign from his position. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said that he would not support Mr. Santos’ reelection bid.
He said that he respected the speaker, but that the opinion — and vote — of his constituents mattered more.
“I want to be judged by the people who elected me,” Mr. Santos said.
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