News (USA)

George Santos lied about his five-year-old niece being kidnapped by two Chinese men

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

Out Rep. George Santos (R-NY) lied to a New York Times reporter about his five-year-old niece being kidnapped, according to the NYPD.

On Sunday, Times reporter Grace Ashford published a story based on several telephone conversations she’d had with the out congressman since early September. Ashford, along with fellow Times reporter Michael Gold, first began investigating Santos last November after he was elected. While their reporting, first published in December of last year, brought the then-incoming congressman’s history of lies and misdeeds to national attention, Long Island paper The North Shore Leader had been reporting on Santos’s lies on the campaign trail since before the November 2022 election.

According to Ashford, after reporting on Santos for nearly a year, the congressman — who now faces 23 federal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, making materially false statements to the House of Representatives, and theft of public funds — called her for the first time, seemingly out of the blue, early last month.

During the first of what Ashford says were “roughly half a dozen” phone calls, Santos bashed the media for “slandering” him. Ashford noted that as a result of the increased media attention, Santos and his husband have received death threats, including from a Florida man who threatened to bash the congressman’s head in.

“We’ve had to defend ourselves,” Santos said.

He went on to describe another incident that he said “nobody talks about.” According to Santos, his five-year-old niece “disappeared” from a playground in Queens and was located 40 minutes later. He alleged that surveillance footage showed the girl in the company of two Chinese men, and he reportedly implied that the incident may have been “retaliation” for his criticism of the Chinese Communist Party. When asked to clarify whether he thought China was responsible for the incident, Santo told Ashford, “I don’t want to go into like, conspiracy theory… But you know, if the shoe fits, right?”

Santos claimed that the “kidnapping” was the subject of an active police investigation. But when Ashford dug into it, a “high-ranking police official” told her that while police had “looked into” the incident, they found no evidence of either a kidnapping or Chinese Communist Party involvement.

“We found nothing at all to suggest it’s true,” the official told Ashford. “I’d lean into, ‘he made it up.’”

Santos also alleged that Ashford and Gold’s reporting on him had contained “factual and timeline errors,” and he claimed that “his team had requested numerous corrections.” According to Ashford, the Times’ standards team found no requests for corrections from Santos or his representatives.

He also called reports that he is negotiating a plea deal “wild rumors.” Earlier this month, Politico reported that court documents show that federal prosecutors have engaged in plea talks directly with Santos. In May, Santos pleaded not guilty to the initial 13 federal charges against him. He is set to be arraigned on ten more charges at the end of the month.

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