Embattled GOP Rep. George Santos, ex-campaign aide seem to be discussing plea deals with federal prosecutors

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., and one of his former campaign aides, Samuel Miele, appear to be discussing plea deals with federal prosecutors. 

In a filing Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and Santos jointly asked the court to delay a status conference hearing scheduled for Thursday until Oct. 27 “to allow defense counsel additional time to review discovery materials and for the parties to continue discussing paths forward in this matter.” 

Since the last hearing on June 30, the defendant “has continued to review the voluminous discoverable material previously produced by the government and requires additional time to continue reviewing that material,” the filing says, and the government “anticipates making another substantial production of discoverable material” this week. 

“Defense counsel has indicated that he will need additional time to review that material as well,” prosecutors wrote. “Further, the parties have continued to discuss possible paths forward in this matter. The parties wish to have additional time to continue those discussions.” 

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Later Tuesday, Judge Joanna Seybert granted the government’s request, which Santos had joined, delaying the hearing. 

George Santos departs Long Island federal court

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., holds an American flag that was presented to him as he departs federal court, Friday, June 30, 2023, in Central Islip, N.Y.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

In Miele’s case, prosecutors told the court on Tuesday that they needed to delay a meeting “to accommodate ongoing discovery review and plea negotiations,” adding in the filing that “negotiations concerning a potential resolution of this case without the need for a trial are active and ongoing,” according to Politico. 

Miele, a former fundraiser, had been fired from the Santos campaign after he was caught soliciting donations under the alias Dan Meyer, then the chief of staff to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who at the time was the Republican minority leader. The 27-year-old was arrested on federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his alleged scheme to trick donors into giving money to Santos under Meyer’s name. He pleaded not guilty. 

Santos speaks with reporters outside Capitol

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters outside the Capitol, in Washington, May 17, 2023. Sam Miele, a former political fundraiser for Santos, was indicted on federal charges in August.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Prosecutors say Miele went to significant lengths to assume the false identity, setting up a dummy email address resembling Meyer’s name as he reached out to more than a dozen donors between August and December 2021. Santos said he was informed of the impersonation in late 2021 by the real Meyer, who has since retired, and he promptly fired Miele.

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Santos, infamous for fabricating major parts of his life story during his run for office, is facing his own federal charges accusing him of duping donors, stealing from his campaign, lying to Congress about being a millionaire and collecting fraudulent unemployment benefits. He has pleaded not guilty. The charges could carry up to 20 years in prison.

Santos, who says he is seeking re-election, has not articulated a clear decision on whether he’d consider a pela deal in recent TV news appearances. 

Santos leaves court in New York

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the U.S. Eastern District New York court on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Central Islip, New York.  (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“Word of the day: Speculation Meaning: The forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence,” Santos wrote in a vague Tuesday post on X, formerly Twitter. 

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“I’m going to fight the witch hunt,” he told reporters in the hours following his arraignment in May, according to Politico. “I’m going to take care of clearing my name.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.