(Bloomberg) -- George Santos’s $500,000 bail package in his criminal fraud case was guaranteed by family members, not political figures, the Republican congressman’s lawyer said in a court filing.
Santos asked a federal judge Friday to overturn an order to release the names of his three bail guarantors be at the request of media organizations, including Bloomberg News. The congressman has previously argued that those individuals could lose their jobs or even be physically harmed if their identities were known.
“Defendant has essentially publicly revealed that the suretors are family members and not lobbyists, donors or others seeking to exert influence over the defendant,” Santos’s lawyer, Joseph Murray, said in the motion to US District Court Judge Joanna Seybert.
Santos, 34, is facing a 13-count federal indictment accusing him of diverting political campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, claiming fraudulent unemployment benefits and making false financial disclosures to Congress.
The freshman Republican congressman from Long Island came under scrutiny shortly after he was elected last year, when the New York Times reported that large parts of his life story — including stints at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup — were made up.
Read more: Santos Secures Three Mystery Guarantors for $500,000 Bond
The media organizations seeking the names’ unsealing have cited the need for public transparency on whether they violate congressional ethics rules banning most gifts.
Those rules make an exception for relatives, a term is broadly defined to include grandparents, cousins, step-siblings, in-laws and fiances.
Santos’s attorney previously suggested to the House Ethics Committee that Santos’s bond was proper because it fit within an exception to the gift ban rule. His filing in federal court made that claim more explicit.
Murray said he would not object to the court releasing the nature of the relationship as long as they were not named, citing the “media frenzy and hateful attacks” against the congressman, his staff and his lawyer.
“These attacks have been extremely angry, anti-gay, anti-Republican and all around antisocial,” he said.
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