George Santos gets shut down after trying to use Trump defense in court

Central Islip, New York - Former Congressman George Santos and his legal team were shut down after they attempted to make a "First Amendment" argument in his fraud case.

Federal prosecutors responded after George Santos and his legal team tried to argue that his First Amendment rights were being violated in his fraud trial.
Federal prosecutors responded after George Santos and his legal team tried to argue that his First Amendment rights were being violated in his fraud trial.  © IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency

According to The Daily Beast, Santos' attorneys asked the judge overseeing his fraud case to remove the "confidential" label from case material provided by the government, which has been deemed "highly exculpatory."

Much like former President Donald Trump has done in the countless legal battles he is currently fighting, the attorneys argued that not allowing Santos to speak publicly about said material would violate "his First Amendment right to offer brief insight into his defense."

Federal prosecutors responded to the request with a court filing, accusing Santos of using the media to sway public opinion and possibly taint the jury pool.

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Prosecutors argued that Santos has been "uninhibited in exercising his First Amendment rights" and included links to interviews and numerous quotes he's made publicly, where he has "outlined the nature of his defense."

"Setting aside Santos's self-serving mischaracterization of the disclosures as 'exonerating' him in any way, his attempt to selectively weaponize discovery materials to influence public opinion on this matter—including prospective jurors—is entirely inappropriate," prosecutors wrote.

"It is a transparent effort to litigate this matter in the press rather than in the courtroom," they added.

The downfall of ex-Congressman George Santos

George Santos leaving the US Capitol after his colleagues in Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 01, 2023.
George Santos leaving the US Capitol after his colleagues in Congress voted to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 01, 2023.  © Drew Angerer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Throughout his brief tenure in the House, Santos was caught lying on countless occasions about everything from his personal life and work history to false claims about having Jewish heritage.

He is now facing 23 criminal counts for charges, including wire fraud, identity theft, and money laundering.

The allegations against him led to his being expelled from Congress back in December, after a damning report from the bipartisan House Ethics Committee "unanimously concluded" that Santos knowingly filed false campaign finance reports and engaged in fraudulent conduct.

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He has since been trying desperately to maintain the rise in popularity his short time in politics garnered him, but that influence has severely waned in recent months.

Much like Trump, whom the former congressman is a big admirer of, Santos has used his platform on social media to plead his innocence to the public, even mimicking the former president's rhetoric by describing the case against him as a "witch hunt."

Santos also recently announced a comeback bid to congress, but recent campaign finance filings revealed his effort raised $0 during the first quarter of 2024.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency

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