CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – Former Rep. George Santos was in court Tuesday morning.
Santos appeared for a status conference as he negotiates a possible plea deal on fraud charges.
Santos appeared to be in good spirits and could be seen smiling and laughing with his attorney as they arrived.
Santos said he injured his foot, and was therefore wearing Ferragamo sneakers rather than his luxury red loafers.
He wasn’t his usual, chatty self when he left court.
He wouldn’t answer questions as to whether there was a plea deal, instead sipping some coffee as he was driven away. He didn’t share developments in court of a potential guilty plea.
Prosecutors acknowledge they’re “engaged in plea negotiations with the goal of resolving this matter without the need for a trial.” But if they fail to reach a deal, prosecutors asked to move up the trial date to the spring.
The judge said, due to 1.3 million discovery material documents that the defense has to review, she is inclined to keep a September start.
Meanwhile, Santos is on the money trail, making seriously big bucks on Cameo, upping his fee from $75 to $500 a message., he said .
“The idea came from a former Kevin McCarthy staffer. He reached out and said ‘George, you have such a large personality. The people love you,” Santos said.
Santos is free on $500,000 unsecured bond.
Outside the courtroom, he told reporters he had nothing to say other than “Happy Holidays,” adding “I wish you guys would take a break from saying my name.”
Prosecutors told the judge they expect plea negotiations to continue, and no formal offer has yet been made.
Santos faces nearly two dozen charges related to alleged wire fraud, identity theft and campaign finance violations and other crimeshanded down earlier this year.
Santos is due back in court Jan. 23.