Journalists laugh as lawyer gives George Santos some free advice that he won’t take

Rep. George Santos
Rep. George Santos Photo: U.S. House

In an interview last night about out Rep. George Santos’s (R-NY) arrest, a lawyer offered Santos some free advice as journalists laughed at the idea that he would take it.

Santos is facing 13 federal criminal charges related to alleged unemployment and campaign finance fraud. This includes allegedly filing for unemployment benefits while he had a job that paid $120,000 a year and collecting $24,744 in benefits, allegedly running an LLC that he told campaign donors to give money to and then spending the money on luxury clothes, and allegedly not properly declaring income on financial disclosure forms.

He surrendered to federal authorities yesterday and posted $500,000 bail before taking questions from reporters outside the courthouse and calling the case against him a “witch hunt.”

“This George Santos, he is facing a lot of time if he is convicted, so I’m not sure why would you speak to the public right after being arraigned knowing that anything you say can be used against you?” former prosecutor Bernarda Villalona said on CNN. “He hasn’t learned his lesson.”

Villalona said that Santos could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison that he would have to serve concurrently if convicted on each of the seven wire fraud charges against him, potentially sending him to prison for 140 years on those charges alone.

She said that if she were his lawyer she would “tell him to shut up, shut your mouth, no interviews, because anything you say can be used against you.”

“Shut up! Cállate! Which language do I have to say that in?”

Villalona noted that Santos’s lawyer doesn’t seem able to control him and speculated that the lawyer may be removed from his case.

She also said that “in paper cases like these” – referring to how the charges are related to financial misdeeds with paper trails – “Guess what? The investigation has been thorough. They have all the documents they need. When it comes to wire fraud and document cases, those are the easiest cases to prove.

“When you’re talking about collecting the unemployment benefits? Dude, were you getting money or not? Were you working? Did you have income? Did you file for unemployment and get those funds? That is easy. It’s yes or no.”

“This man needs to shut up.”

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