CENTRAL ISLIP - Embattled ex-congressman George Santos walked into federal court wearing a navy coat and Prada shoes - insisting neither were new nor stolen.
The disgraced New York Republican, who became only the sixth lawmaker in history to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives last year, only spent five or so minutes in court on Tuesday ahead of his trial later this year.
Santos pleaded not guilty last year to 23 charges, including allegations that he duped donors and lied on his congressional financial disclosure forms. His fate, which has yet to be determined, depends on several factors, according to criminal defense attorney Ken Belkin.
"It’s not a sure thing that he’s gonna get a jail sentence, who knows what their plea negotiations look like," Belkin said.
Belkin says while no one has a crystal ball, a plea bargain would be in Santos’ best interest especially since the government has a close to perfect conviction rate.
"They don’t bring a case to trial unless they feel that they can prevail," he said.
Inside the courtroom, the judge agreed to a pre-trial schedule telling Santos and his legal team "You’re making great progress."
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and members of his staff walk through the tunnel connecting the Capitol Hill office buildings with the U.S. Capitol ahead of a vote to expel him from the House of Representatives on December 01, ( )
His team now has two more attorneys to help sift through the hundreds of thousands of documents the government has been turning over in the case.
Santos told reporters off camera he’s worked with the attorneys in the past but didn’t say in what capacity. When asked if he plans to vote in the special election to fill the seat he once held he said he’s not. He said he worked really hard to get to Congress adding he had fun while he was there. He didn’t comment on what he’s doing for work despite selling videos on Cameo.
Plea discussions are still on the table. Santos is due back in court on August 13. A special election to fill his seat is set for Feb. 13.