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A judge is set to unseal the names of the two people who paid the $500,000 pretrial bond for Long Island liar George Santos last month.
US Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields ruled that the names of those who helped secure his release will be unsealed at noon on Friday.
Her order and all related filings have been kept under seal, to give Santos until noon on Friday to appeal her decision.
Santos pleaded not guilty last month to a 13-count indictment claiming he duped donors, stole from his campaign, lied to congress about being a millionaire and cheated to collect unemployment benefits.
On Monday, Santos’ attorney, Joseph Murray, urged the judge to deny the request to unseal the names of Santos’ bond suretors, or guarantors.
‘My client would rather surrender to pretrial detainment than subject these suretors to what will inevitably come,’ Murray wrote in a letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Anne Shields.
George Santos is seen speaking outside the Capitol on May 17, amid efforts to expel him from the House
Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields ruled that the names of the bond suretors who helped secure the release of Santos will be unsealed at noon Friday
Magistrate Judge Shields’ order and all related filings have been kept under seal, to give Santos until noon on Friday to appeal her decision
Murray suggested they could ‘suffer great distress,’ including possible job losses and physical harm, if they’re identified publicly.
Murray asked that she give them time to withdraw as cosigners if she decides to unseal their names, which Shields kept off the public court docket at the lawyer’s request.
The lawyer said he, Santos and Santos’ staff have been receiving threatening and harassing calls and messages, including death threats.
Murray said he received a call Friday from someone shouting: ‘Who paid Santos’ bond?’ and said he worries Santos’ critics ‘are just waiting to pounce’ on the people backing his release.
‘We truly fear for their health, safety and well being,’ Murray wrote.
In a letter last week, a lawyer for news outlets urged the judge to release the names of Santos’ bond suretors, citing a ‘compelling public interest in maintaining the greatest transparency possible in these proceedings.’
The New York Times first wrote to Shields on May 23 asking to unseal the names.
According to New York Daily News, Senior counsel for the New York Times Dana Green wrote: ‘The public interest in openness is particularly strong in this case.
‘The surety records relate to three individuals who have committed large sums of money to ensure that Rep. Santos can remain at liberty, pending further proceedings.
‘This presents an obvious opportunity for political influence, given Rep. Santos’s elected position and his dependence on these suretors.;
Other news outlets, including The Associated Press, joined the fight a few days later.
Joseph Murray, lawyer for George Santos, is trying to stop the names of those who contributed to the $500,000 bond from being made public
Former Democratic congressional candidate Robert Zimmerman, center, speaks at a rally in Mineola, New York on December 29 where local leaders and dozens of residents from the third congressional district gathered to condemn Santos for lying
Separately, the House Ethics Committee wrote to Santos on May 16 asking him to identify the people who cosigned his bond.
Murray said Santos originally lined up three financially responsible cosigners as suretors, but one backed out and the other two didn’t show up to his arraignment.
That forced them to make ‘other confidential arrangements’ to ensure Santos’ release, Murray said.
Santos’ bond is unsecured. That means his cosigners didn’t have put up any money up front, but could be forced to pay the full amount if he doesn’t comply with his release conditions or fails to show up for court.
The 34-year-old, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island, has defied calls to resign and has said he won’t drop his bid for a second term.
Source: DailyMail UK