George Santos has pleaded not guilty for the second time this year. Santos’ plea on Friday morning at the Eastern District of New York’s Long Island courthouse comes after prosecutors unveiled a superseding indictment earlier this month that charges the freshman Republican congressman with helping to orchestrate a fake donor scheme first exposed by Mother Jones in February, fabricating a $500,000 loan to his campaign, and making unauthorized transactions with donors’ credit cards.
Santos is now facing 23 counts of criminal charges.
Federal prosecutors had requested that District Court Judge Joanna Seybert, a Bill Clinton appointee, hold Santos’ trial in May or June of next year. Seybert said that was not possible given the cases already on her docket, and set September 9 as the trial date. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
It is unclear whether Santos will be a member of Congress in September. Fellow New York Republicans are moving forward with a motion to expel Santos from the House as part of an effort to distance themselves from him as they run for reelection in swing districts.
Santos did not make a statement or take questions from reporters as he exited the courthouse. On his way out, he was heckled by a small group of protesters. One held a sign that read “Devolder, Defrauds, Devoters,” a reference to Santos’ second last name.
Another protester’s sign called back to an earlier Santos scandal that reportedly involved a GoFundMe scheme and a Navy veteran’s dying service dog. The hand-written sign stated: “Santos Stole My Money & Killed My Dog.” The woman holding it made clear that she had never actually owned that dog.