Angry protesters called congressman George Santos a “dog killer” on Friday as the Republican made an appearance at a Long Island federal court house, his first hearing since pleading not guilty last month to a13-count indictment related to fraud and money laundering charges.
The chants were in reference to an alleged scandal in which the representative allegedly made off with more than $3,000 raised in a fundraiser to save a disabled US Navy veteran’s service dog, one of the many alleged acts of deception Mr Santos made as he worked towards his spot in Congress.
The first-term congressman has denied knowing about veteran Richard Osthoff or his dog, calling the allegations “fake.”
As Mr Santos exited court, Mr Osthoff, who was in the crowd, yelled, “You killed Sapphire, George. You killed my dog.”
Others in the crowd reportedly chanted, “Resign” and “Shame” as the Republican passed by.
Mr Santos was in court for a status conference on the federal case against him, where he faces 13 different charges, including fraud, money laundering, and theft of public funds.
Prosecutors charge the New York rep mislead supporters and donors into giving him money, which he allegedly used for personal expenses that funded a lavish lifestyle.
They also claim he misleadingly obtained unemployment benefits and lied about his personal finances when campaigning for the House of Representatives.
Mr Santos has admitted to lying about certain aspects of his background, and is accused of fabricating everything from his education background to his religion to his career success.
In court, Mr Santos did not speak, but his lawyers claim he and the government have exhibited a “wonderful working relationship” so far.
The defence also said the prosecution has given them 86,000 pages of evidence to go through.
The next court date for Mr Santos is 7 September.
Outside of the federal case against him, Rep Santos is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
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