By Haley Talbot and Jack Forrest, CNN
(CNN) — New York Republican Rep. George Santos on Tuesday said he was not in talks with the Justice Department to strike a plea deal after he was indicted on 13 federal fraud and money laundering charges in May.
The freshman congressman, whose astonishing pattern of lies and fabrications has led to investigations and calls for his resignation, told CNN’s Erin Burnett in an exclusive, combative interview that there are “no talks of a negotiation” with the Justice Department.
Santos has pleaded not guilty to the 13 charges, which include: 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.
Prosecutors wrote in a recent filing that Santos is engaged in discussions about possible paths forward in the matter. He told Burnett he couldn’t go into detail on the matter because it would “cheapen (his) ability to defend” himself.
“Why don’t you ask the DOJ what they meant by the letter, the letter was submitted by them not my counsel,” he added on “OutFront.”
Samuel Miele, who is charged in connection with allegedly impersonating a top aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to solicit contributions for Santos’ campaign in 2021, on the other hand, is mulling a possible plea deal with the Justice Department, CNN reported earlier this month.
As for the ongoing House Ethics investigation into his potential wrongdoing, Santos told Burnett he does not know where that probe stands. When pressed on whether he would resign if the committee found he committed wrongdoing, he said “no,” and that the committee should “be very wary of making a hasty decision.”
Santos, responding to McCarthy saying previously he would not support his potential reelection effort, said, “Quite frankly that is up to me, not him or anyone else in this body.”
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CNN’s Mark Morales, Kristina Sgueglia, Piper Hudspeth Blackburn, Evan Perez, Fredreka Schouten, Gregory Krieg, Tierney Sneed, Hannah Rabinowitz and Devan Cole contributed to this report.