Former Rep. George Santos.

Former Rep. George Santos. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Ex-Long Island Rep. George Santos has beefed up his legal team ahead of his scheduled Tuesday court appearance in his federal fraud and money laundering case.

Criminal defense attorneys Andrew Leopoldo Mancilla and Robert Mario Fantone Jr. — who have a Manhattan law firm together — are joining original Santos attorney Joseph Murray in mounting a defense for the former congressman.

Mancilla confirmed he is now representing Santos, but declined to comment further when he was reached by telephone Monday after the attorneys’ notice of appearance was entered into the case file.

Prosecutors had previously said Santos’ counsel was engaged in plea talks, and in a letter to U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert Monday, they proposed not having another court conference until Aug. 30 “for the parties to pursue plea negotiations” and allow Santos and his lawyers “adequate time” to review the evidence against him.

Santos is expected to appear with his attorneys in a Central Islip courtroom Tuesday morning for a conference in the case. The letter also said the government anticipates handing over another 6,000 pages of documents to Santos and his attorneys and proposed a motion schedule for the case — an issue the judge will likely rule on Tuesday.

Seybert had urged Murray to add more lawyers to the defense team after Murray balked at the prospect of moving up the proposed trial date, citing the large volume of pretrial discovery documents he received from prosecutors and the time it will take to examine them. Santos’ trial is set for September.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to a 23-count superseding indictment charging him with a variety of fraudulent schemes. Prosecutors have alleged that Santos fraudulently received unemployment benefits authorized under COVID-19 and lied on his congressional financial disclosure forms. Prosecutors also alleged he filed fraudulent fundraising reports to obtain financial support for his congressional campaign and stole thousands of dollars from his campaign contributors by charging their credit cards without authorization.

Santos was expelled from Congress on Dec. 1 after a damning House Ethics Committee report that found “substantial evidence” that Santos engaged in “unlawful conduct” and knowingly deceived campaign donors “for his own personal financial profit.”

Santos called the report a “political smear” but said he wouldn’t run for reelection.

Soon after the political newbie won the election in November 2022 to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Nassau and Queens, The New York Times published a story detailing numerous falsehoods Santos offered on the campaign trail, including degrees he never obtained and prestigious Wall Street jobs he never held.

He later admitted fabricating key parts of his resume and entered office under intense scrutiny.

Since being kicked out of Congress, Santos has been making cash on the celebrity video messaging application Cameo by recording pithy messages for those willing to pay.

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