By Lauren del Valle, CNN
(CNN) — The co-signers on a $500,000 bond connected to Republican Rep. George Santos’ federal indictment are family members, his lawyer said in a new court filing, though their names will remain unknown to the public while an appeals process plays out.
Attorneys for Santos filed the appeal Friday, continuing his fight to keep the names of the bond co-signers under seal after a federal judge ordered earlier this week that the names must be made public.
Last month, Santos was released on bond and ordered to surrender his passport after pleading not guilty to 13 federal charges which included seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
Attorneys for Santos assert in the appeal that the bond co-signors are family members whose privacy he wants to protect – not donors or lobbyists.
“The suretors are family members and not lobbyists, donors or others seeking to exert influence over the Defendant,” the filing states. “There is no way to quell such speculation and foster confidence in the judicial process but to reveal the identities of the Suretors,” the magistrate judge had ruled, according to Santos’ filing.
In an apparent attempt to compromise, the filing says Santos is open to unsealing the bond paperwork in a way that would not identify the names or exact relationship of the suretors.
“To the extent that it may be possible to unredact a portion of the sealed judicial bond records or proceedings to reveal the existence of a ‘family’ relationship between Defendant and suretors without identifying the name or type of family member, Defendant would have no objection.”
The sealed documents with the co-signers’ names and the judge’s full order on the unsealing will remain under seal pending the appeal.
Asked Tuesday why it’s important to shield the identities of the people who guaranteed his $500,000 bond, Santos told CNN: “Because it is.”
The freshman congressman, whose astonishing pattern of lies and fabrications stunned even hardened politicos and led top Democrats and some New York Republicans to call for his resignation earlier this year, has said he will not resign from his seat and that he plans to seek reelection next year.
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